Beneficial Re-Use of Carbon Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants using Microalgae Email Page
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Performer:  University of Kentucky Research Foundation Location:  Lexington, Kentucky
Project Duration:  06/01/2017 – 05/31/2020 Award Number:  FE0029623
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse Total Award Value:  $1,258,462
Key Technology:  Biological Conversion DOE Share:  $999,742
Performer Share:  $258,720

Algal gravity filter
Algal gravity filter

Project Description

The University of Kentucky Research Foundation, along with Colorado State University, Colorado State University, and ALGIX LLC, will develop a cost-effective microalgae-based process to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired flue gas to value-added products utilizing a dual photobioreactor (PBR)/pond cultivation strategy. The resulting algal biomass can be converted to bioplastics, chemicals, and fuels. In order to decrease the cost of algae cultivation and hence CO2 capture, the project team will investigate the combined PBR/pond cultivation system in which low-cost PBRs produce a concentrated monoculture that is used to inoculate conventional raceway ponds. This dual process minimizes growth lag time and ensures the desired algae growth as the dominant species over potential invasive species. Testing will be completed on the combined PBR/raceway ponds using simulated flue gas to collect operating data and using actual flue gas to validate productivity. Additionally, a biomass fractionation strategy will be developed to produce a protein-rich stream for bioplastics production, and a lipid feedstock and an aqueous carbohydrate stream that are suitable as raw materials for renewable chemicals and fuels production. A techno-economic and a lifecycle analysis will be performed to assess the economic and environmental implications of this approach to CO2 utilization.

Project Benefits

The algae-based system being developed in this project utilizes a combined PBR/pond process and a biomass fractionation strategy to cost-effectively convert CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants into feedstocks for the production of valuable products (i.e., bioplastics, chemicals, and fuels), thereby contributing to the mitigation of CO2 in areas where geologic storage may not be a viable solution.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Isaac Aurelio:
Technology Manager Lynn Brickett:
Principal Investigator Mark Crocker: