Efficient Capture of CO2 from Fossil Fuel Power Plants Using Algae and Conversion to Value Added Products


Hydrothermal liquefaction reactor
Hydrothermal liquefaction reactor
Helios-NRG, LLC
Website:  Helios-NRG, LLC
Award Number:  SC0015719
Project Duration:  06/13/2016 – 03/12/2017
Total Award Value:  $149,929
DOE Share:  $149,929
Performer Share:  $0
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse
Key Technology:  Biological Conversion
Location:  East Amherst, New York

Project Description

Helios-NRG, LLC, in partnership with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois, will develop a novel algae-based technology for efficient carbon dioxide (CO2) capture from coal-fired power plant flue gas and production of biofuels and other valuable products to mitigate the cost of carbon capture. The strategy includes utilizing a closed photobioreactor (PBR) system for high growth rate microalgae to metabolize the CO2 from flue gas. The algae growth rate using a PBR is approximately 50-75 grams per square meter per day (g/m2/day), compared with approximately 25-35 g/m2/day1 for open ponds. The dewatered algae will be converted to biofuel via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), a thermochemical process. During Phase I, testing will be performed on the two most promising species of algae, including tolerance to major flue gas contaminants. Assessments of the effect of HTL operating conditions and algae type on process performance will be made, along with a characterization of the HTL aqueous product. A preliminary techno-economic analysis will be performed.

1 Chisti, Y. Biodiesel from microalgae, Biotechnology Advances 25 (2007) 294–306

Project Benefits

This technology will enable approximately 90 percent of the CO2 from coal-fired power plants to be captured and converted to liquid biofuels, at much lower costs than currently possible, and benefit the nation by reducing CO2 emissions and petroleum consumption.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Isaac Aurelio: isaac.aurelio@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager 
Lynn Brickett: lynn.brickett@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator 
Ravi Prasad: prasad@helios-nrg.com

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