Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems

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Funding Amount: Up to $15,000,000
Open Date: May 3, 2018
Funding Number: DE-FOA-0001908

The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $15 million to improve the cost-competitiveness of algae-based fuels and products.  This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will support research on improving carbon utilization efficiencies to increase productivity and reduce costs, as well as research direct air capture technologies.

The Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) Advanced Algal Systems Program (AAS) supports collaboration by working with partners such as academia, industry, national labs, and others to spark, de-risk, and develop economical, sustainable, and innovative technologies to further energy efficient and renewable industries, such as the algal biomass industry.  AAS anticipates funding 6-10 awards for between $1.5 million and $2.5 million each to industry- and academia-led consortia. 

This FOA is a collaboration between AAS and the Office of Fossil Energy on researching carbon utilization in algal cultivation systems. The Offices are coordinating on carbon research, sharing data and information, and working together so that challenges, opportunities, and advances are best utilized to move both industries forward.

This FOA has two topic areas:

Topic Area 1: Product and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Utilization Improvement. CO2 utilization within an algae cultivation system can be addressed in a number of ways, including, but not limited to, optimization of CO2 uptake within the organism itself, dispersion mechanisms, and cultivation system improvements related to CO2 delivery and uptake. Applicants are expected to propose the CO2 utilization area of their choice to research and develop and to evaluate the best, most cost-effective CO2 source for their cultivation and product regime, which must include an advanced biofuel. Applicants may need access to an industrial CO2 gas source in order to test their proposed utilization improvements on the best CO2 source for their system. The projects should include iterative research between indoor and small scale outdoor environments to ensure that CO2 utilization improvements translate between lab conditions and real outdoor conditions and that it scales.

Topic Area 2: Direct Air Capture. Direct, economic air capture for providing the carbon source in algae cultivation has the potential to provide large cost savings; however, additional research is needed to develop new, innovative, and economical direct air capture technologies. Applicants’ projects will improve the economics of direct air capture and evaluate improvements in economics, carbon balance, productivity, and final product regimes.

Learn more about this funding opportunity and apply.  Letters of intent are due by May 30, 2018.  Full applications are due by June 27, 2018.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) supports early-stage R&D of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that make energy more affordable and strengthen the U.S. economy.