US DOE Supports ‘Rewiring' Algae for Better Biofuels

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado are developing ways to improve the production of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts.

The US Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced its support for the project "Rewiring Algal Carbon Energetics for Renewables,", giving the project a $3.5 million grant. The overall goal of the project is to double the yield of biofuel precursors from algae.

In the project, scientists will aim to increase the algae yield through different approaches including increasing its productivity, optimizing the biomass composition, and separating different algal lipids to reduce the costs converting it to renewable diesel.

The scientists from NREL will be joined by specialists from Colorado State University (CSU), the Colorado School of Mines, Arizona State University, Utah State University, as well as experts from the industry.

The researchers will focus on the algae species Desmodesmus armatus, and how it will efficiently channel carbon dioxide into useful fuel intermediates. Other partners on the project will work on the algae-to-bioproduct life cycle, including modification of growing pond conditions, and separating algal solids from water to remove lipids.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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