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UK CAER's Biofuels Group Receives $1.2M Grant to Support Algae-Based Carbon Utilization Project

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's (CAER) Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group has received a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant for the novel work in utilizing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants to develop bioplastics.

Algae Bioreactor at Power Plant

The U.S. Energy Department's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected seven projects to receive $5.9 million to focus on novel ways to utilize CO2. All of the selected research projects will directly support FE's Carbon Storage program's Carbon Use and Reuse research and development portfolio. This portfolio will develop and test novel approaches that convert CO2 captured from coal-fired power plants to useable products. The projects will also explore ways to use captured CO2 in areas where high-volume uses, like enhanced oil recovery, may not be optimal or the use could partially offset the cost of carbon capture technologies.

The UK project is led by CAER Associate Director and Department of Chemistry Professor Mark Crocker and is entitled "CO2 to Bioplastics: Beneficial Re-Use of Carbon Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants Using Microalgae."

Examing algae within the reactor tubes at a power plant

The UK CAER team has become a global leader in developing technology to capture CO2 from coal-fired flue gas using microalgae, with subsequent conversion of the resulting algal biomass to bioplastics, chemicals, and fuels. This DOE funding, which totals $1 million from DOE and about $250,000 in non-DOE cost share, will allow the UK CAER team to investigate a combined photobioreactor/pond cultivation process to decrease the cost of algae cultivation while developing a strategy to maximize value from the algal biomass.





For more information please contact: David Melanson, Assistant Director of External Affairs and Development at UK CAER.