MSU gets grant for power plant emission reduction, algae growth

By PHYCO2 | December 01, 2017

On the heels of a successful development of algae photobioreactor (APB) technology and carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration study with Michigan State University, PHYCO2—an algae growth and carbon dioxide sequestration company—will collaborate with MSU under a $1 million U.S. DOE grant to develop technologies that seek to transform the efficiency and operating costs to reduce power plant emissions of CO2 and create marketable chemicals. 

The process will utilize PHYCO2’s APB technology to grow algae and a new chemical conversion process to create high-efficiency, absorbent chemicals for CO2 reduction, while using low energy and costs. If successful, the PHYCO2 APB and MSU/DOE technology then will be commercialized in this process and offered to emitting manufacturers and power plants across the U.S., minimizing costs for emission reduction.

“We’re excited to continue working with MSU and their expert team and the T.B. Simon Power Plant,” said William Clary, president and CEO of PHYCO2. “This project offers the opportunity for a high-efficiency, low parasitic energy process to reduce CO2 emissions for the first time to fossil fuel power plants to thrive in cost-effective and environmentally friendly space. Never before has reducing emissions also provided an opportunity to produce a sellable commodity such as algae-derived chemicals like urethanes, amines, biodiesel and methane. It’s a win-win.”

Currently, emission reduction, although important, is often a costly endeavor for manufacturers. The research project will focus on diminishing the cost and efficiency of CO2 emissions capture. The project is an additional venture for PHYCO2 as it expands its technology reach into parasitic load reduction, with the objective of lowering the amount of power consumed.

PHYCO2 will be utilizing its APB technology throughout this three-year cross-disciplinary effort to grow algae from CO2 emissions, and then using algae derived chemicals as a high-efficiency absorbent for greenhouse gases. If the technology can allow for lower-cost power plant emission reduction, this may result in more manufacturers reducing emissions for cleaner air, and reduce the cost of algae-based products.

“We’ve been running bioenergy experiments with algae on campus for over a decade,” said Wei Liao, associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering. “We’re now testing a novel technique not only to mitigate power plant emissions, but also to turn them into new sources of revenue.” 

The MSU team will be hosting the project as well as working with the PHYCO2 team on photosynthetic green algae as an absorbent and cascade conversion, using algae for the production of chemicals and biofuels. The project will take place at the T.B. Simon Power Plant on MSU’s campus. 


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