ARRA Research

ICCS (Research) -

Recovery Act: Re-Utilization of Industrial CO2 for Algae Production Using a Phase Change Material

Performer: Touchstone Research Laboratory Ltd.

Project No: FE0002546

Program Background and Project Benefits

Worldwide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activity have reached 33 billion tons annually. The use of new technologies for the capture, separation, and reuse of CO2 will reduce the effect of industrial activity on global climate. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) actively seeks to encourage the development of practical technologies to capture and convert CO2 into beneficial products without adversely influencing energy use or hindering economic growth.

One such promising technology is the use of CO2 to promote the growth of algae that can be used to produce biofuels. During photosynthesis, algae and other photosynthetic organisms capture CO2 and sunlight and convert it into oxygen and biomass. Up to 99 percent of the carbon dioxide in solution can be converted in large-scale open-pond systems. DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is partnering with Touchstone Research Laboratory (Touchstone) to advance the emerging algae biofuels industry.

The development and commercial scale deployment of the PCM process will allow industrial production of algae to produce biofuels while decreasing CO2 emissions from industry. This will contribute to our nation’s goal of reducing dependence on foreign-sourced energy fuels while also reducing industrial emissions of CO2 which contribute to climate change and other ecological problems.

Goals and Objectives

The goals of this project are to demonstrate the effectiveness of the PCM approach and to enhance the open-pond production process. The specific objectives of this project are to demonstrate the efficiency and benefits of a carbon capture and re-use process by growing algae in open ponds by using PCM technology at the pilot-scale; establish the projected capital and operating cost for scaled systems; and determine the economic viability of the system at scale, including the co-product value (liquid fuel and electricity).

Project Details