The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced six projects that will receive up to $18 million in funding aimed at reducing the modeled price of algae-based biofuels to less than $5/GGE by 2019. The department says the funding supports the development of a bioeconomy that can help create green jobs, spur innovation, improve the environment and achieve national energy security.
According to the DOE, algal biomass can be converted to advanced biofuels that offer promising alternatives to petroleum-based diesel and jet fuels. Additionally, algae can be used to make a range of other valuable bioproducts, such as industrial chemicals, bio-based polymers and proteins.
However, the DOE says barriers related to algae cultivation, harvesting, and conversion to fuels and products need to be overcome to achieve the DOE's target of $3/GGE for advanced algal biofuels by 2030. To accomplish this goal, the department is investing in applied research and development technologies that can achieve higher yields of targeted bioproducts and biofuels from algae – increasing the overall value for algae biomass.
A list of the funding recipients is available here.