The University of Kentucky (UK) Centre for Applied Energy Research’s (CAER) Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group has received a $1.2m US Department of Energy (DOE) grant for their novel work in utilising carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants to develop bioplastics.

The DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected seven projects to receive $5.9m to focus on novel ways to utilise CO2. All of the selected research projects will directly support FE’s carbon storage programmes carbon use and reuse research and development portfolio.

The projects will also explore ways to use captured CO2 in areas where high-volume uses, like enhanced oil recovery, may not be optimal or the use could partially offset the cost of carbon capture technologies.

The UK project is led by Mark Crocker, CAER associate director and chemistry professor, and is entitled ‘CO2 to Bioplastics: Beneficial Re-Use of Carbon Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants Using Microalgae.’

The UK CAER team has become a global leader in developing technology to capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired flue gas using microalgae, with subsequent conversion of the resulting algal biomass to bioplastics, chemicals and fuels. This DOE funding, which totals $1m from DOE and about $250,000 in non-DOE cost share, will allow the CAER team to investigate a combined photobioreactor/pond cultivation process to decrease the cost of algae cultivation while developing a strategy to maximise value from the algal biomass.

CO2 in focus

CO2 and carbon capture will be in focus next week at the first ever CO2 Summit, to be held by gasworld at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol, Innsbruck, Austria, from the 6th-7th March 2017. A number of gritty topics will be on the agenda such as ‘CO2 Sourcing’ with ACP’s Eryk Remiezowicz, ‘Beverages’ with Gary Robson from Unisensor, and ‘Green Houses’ with Michael Koch from Linde Gas.