Two groups from the University of Kentucky Centre for Applied Energy Research (CAER) have joined forces to develop an ammonia-based looping integrated carbon capture and utilisation technology.

For more than a decade, the groups have been investigating and creating new technologies for different methods of carbon capture for coal-fired power plants and facilities. Now, thanks to a grant from the US Department of Energy, the groups have joined forces.

The $3.7m collaborative project, titled Ammonium Looping with Membrane Absorber and Distributed Stripped for Enhanced Algae Growth, includes DOE funding and industry and University cost-share.

Heather Nikolic, Research Program Manager at CAER, said, “This new carbon capture and utilisation system design marries use of non-degradable capture solvent with continuous, steady feed of nutrients to the algae.”

“This technology could generate the type of cost savings and production increase needed to make both carbon capture and algae utilisation more economical and accessible.”

CAER said the technology will also boost algae production by 50% by continuously supplying carbon dioxide and ammonia in the appropriate growth ratio, compared to an intermittent feeding system.

Dr. Crocker, Associate Director at CAER and Professor in UK’s Department of Chemistry, added, “By installing these solvent generators near the algae bioreactor we will provide local, just-in-time distribution of carbon dioxide and ammonia at the appropriate ratio, boosting algae production.”

“We believe this engineering advancement will have a significant impact on algae production.”

Researchers from Colorado State University, Vanderbilt University, and Trimeric Corporation will partner with CAER on this project.