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DOE Releases “Advancements in Algal Biofuels: Year in Review”

February 18th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Algae Oils, Algae-Biodiesel

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has released its Advancements in Algal Biofuels: Year in Review. The goal of BETO is to support advanced in the production of algal biofuel – especially those that lower the cost of production.

Highlights of the report:

  • Fast algae-to-bio-crude oil process reduces production costs: DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is receiving national recognition for developing a process to turn algae into bio-crude oil in just minutes. PNNL’s technology (a process called hydrothermal liquefaction) eliminates the lipid extraction step and subjects whole algae to very hot water under high pressure to convert the algae biomass into bio-crude oil.
  • Discovery in algae cell biology overcomes key challenges to algal biofuels: Researchers at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) made a significant breakthrough in the metabolic engineering of algae to improve yield of lipids (the energy-storing fat molecules that can be used in biofuel production). The high lipid yields that result from utilizing their method can potentially improve the economics of algal biofuel production.
  • Collaborative outdoor algae production testing facilities come online: Two national algae R&D testbed programs kicked off their project work in 2013. The Arizona State University-led Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3) and the University of Arizona Regional Algae Feedstock Testbed Partnership manage algal biofuel R&D facilities across the United States and serve as engines for algal technology innovation and validation, job training and workforce development, and long-term cultivation data.

In response to this report, the National Algae Association’s (NAA) Barry Cohen said that while the advancements might be news in Washington, none of them are newsworthy to the algae production industry.

More details about the report – http://www.eereblogs.energy.gov/bioenergy/post/2014/01/10/Advancements-in-Algal-Biofuels-Year-in-Review.aspx

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