Project holds promise for clean energy from algae

Algae Sustainable EnergyEngineer Bruce Rittmann and physicist Klaus Lackner, both ASU sustainability experts, will lead a new research project to aid U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) efforts to boost production of a promising source for clean, renewable energy. DOE has awarded ASU a three-year, $1 million grant to fund the Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Capture and Membrane Delivery project aimed at enabling more large-scale cultivation of microalgae. Microalgae are species of microscopic single-cell organisms, such as Spirulina and Chlorella, that exist in fresh water and sea environments and can be used to make biofuels and an array of consumer products, using only sunlight and CO2. Beside renewable biofuel production, microalgae biomass is being used for a suite of products, ranging from food supplements to feed for mammals and fish, to therapeutics and cosmetics. “Our goal is to develop systems to make growing microalgae more affordable and sustainable and to produce it on scales large enough to meet growing demands in the United States and globally,” says Rittmann.