Microalgae Commodities from Coal-Fired Power Plant Flue Gas CO2 Email Page
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Performer:  MicroBio Engineering Location:  San Luis Obispo, California
Project Duration:  10/01/2015 – 06/30/2018 Award Number:  FE0026490
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse Total Award Value:  $1,361,592
Key Technology:  Biological Conversion DOE Share:  $1,035,827
Performer Share:  $325,765

Bench-scale experimental ponds
Bench-scale experimental ponds

Project Description

MicroBio Engineering, Inc. has teamed with Orlando Utilities Commission Stanton Energy Center (OUC-SEC), University of Florida–Gainesville, Arizona State University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Life Cycle Associates LLC, and SFA Pacific, Inc. to investigate power plant integration with microalgal production systems for the production of bulk commodities to beneficially utilize and mitigate power plant produced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plant flue gas. Techno-economic analyses, lifecycle assessments, engineering studies, and experimental work will be conducted for the site-specific case of utilization of flue gas from the OUC-SEC 800 MWe coal-fired power plant in Florida, sunlight, and local water sources to cultivate algal strains for production of biogas and animal feeds. Bench-scale experimental work at both OUC-SEC and the University of Florida will be conducted to test the growth of native microalgae under local conditions with actual CO2-laden flue gas and pure CO2. Project researchers will investigate two cases for CO2 mitigation and beneficial utilization: (1) biogas production from microalgal biomass and (2) production of bulk commodity premium microalgae animal feed to maximize the beneficial use of flue gas CO2. The microalgae cultivation process is based on an existing technology using large raceway ponds with projected algae productivity of nearly 50 metric tons of ash-free dry weight biomass per hectare per year. The anticipated results are detailed projections of the potential for and limitations of using microalgae for CO2 mitigation and beneficial utilization at the OUC-SEC coal-fired power plant. A technology gap analysis will be conducted on increasing microalgae productivity and optimizing market-driven sale of bulk feed commodities to help offset CO2 mitigation costs.

Project Benefits

This project will better define the opportunity for offsetting CO2 mitigation costs at coal-fired power plants by utilizing microalgal biomass and addresses both CO2 emission reductions and beneficial utilization from large-scale coal-fired power plant flue gas. Low-cost biogas production and higher-value animal feeds cover the range of options for the development and application of microalgae technologies and the detailed site-specific studies will more clearly and definitively establish the cost and benefits of the two cases. Additionally the results can be used in projecting costs and benefits of other commodities that could be produced from microalgae as the two cases encompass from the lowest to the highest cost commodity microalgal products at a scale relevant to coal-fired power plant CO2 reduction and utilization.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Isaac Aurelio: isaac.aurelio@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager Lynn Brickett: lynn.brickett@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator John Benemann: johnbenemann@microbioengineering.com