Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization, and Verification Research (DISCOVR): A Coordinated Research-Driven Approach to Improve Microalgal Productivity, Composition, and Culture Stability for Commercially Viable Biofuels Production: Article No. 102961

Michael Huesemann, Eric Knoshaug, Lieve Laurens, Taraka Dale, Todd Lane, John McGowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations

Abstract

To address major knowledge gaps and barriers to the commercial development of algal biomass for biofuels and co-products, a collaborative consortium, Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization, and Verification Research (DISCOVR), was established in 2016. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), this consortium constitutes a partnership between four DOE national laboratories - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) - and the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) at Arizona State University. To address the barriers of strain selection for achieving high seasonal productivities with a suitable composition and culture resilience, a tiered strain down-selection pipeline is implemented. At Tier I, the temperature and salinity tolerance of strains is determined in flask cultures; at Tier II, the areal biomass productivity and composition is determined in climate-simulation photobioreactors; at Tier III, the productivity and culture stability are determined in outdoor raceways. The top performing strains move forward to long-term testing at the algae testbed site at AzCATI to generate annual biomass productivity data. Concurrent to the strain down-selection in the DISCOVR pipeline, hypotheses for increasing biomass productivity, shifting biomass composition to enhance intrinsic value, and improving culture stability and resistance to pests are also tested. Techno-economic analyses are carried out to determine whether promising findings from laboratory studies or proposed modifications in outdoor pond cultivation conditions translate into reductions in the minimum biomass selling price (MBSP). In the three years following the launch of DISCOVR, annual biomass productivity has increased from 11.7 to 17.6 g m-2 day-1, resulting in an MBSP decrease from 824 to 611 $ ton-1.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalAlgal Research
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-79861

Keywords

  • algae
  • DISCOVR
  • outdoor cultivation
  • productivity
  • SOT
  • strain selection

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