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SBIR Phase I:A Carbon Capture System for Algae Cultivation and Biochemicals Production using Hybrid Solar Lighting

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2324850
Agency Tracking Number: 2324850
Amount: $275,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: ET
Solicitation Number: NSF 23-515
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-10-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-09-30
Small Business Information
1603 Barrington Drive
Manhattan, KS 66503
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Alexander Mathews
 (785) 341-3827
Business Contact
 Alexander Mathews
Phone: (785) 341-3827
Research Institution

The broader/commercial impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to mitigate CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions into the atmosphere from point sources by developing a cost-effective carbon capture technology using a hybrid solar algae cultivation system.The team seeks to develop a method to use algae to produce biochemicals and biofuels. The algae cultivation system will utilize deep photobioreactors operated under controlled environmental conditions so as to obtain high area biomass productivities at a low land footprint. An algal biorefinery approach will be used to produce organic chemicals from the carbohydrate fraction, biodiesel from the lipids fraction, and end use for the residue.The adverse effects of CO2 accumulation include the frequent incidences of wildfires, flooding, intense hurricanes, and the acidification of the marine environment. The annual cost of wildfires alone in the U.S. in terms of damage to human health and the ecosystems is estimated to range from $71 to $348 billion. Growth rates of algae and the ability to absorb CO2 are about ten times that of terrestrial plants. This project will provide a _x000D_
sustainable carbon capture technology as it primarily relies on solar energy to capture CO2 and produce high value bioproduct. Implementation of this technology would also provide significant employment opportunities in diverse areas. _x000D_
The project will develop a hybrid solar/Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting system within a photobioreactor to obtain high algal productivity and carbon dioxide capture from point emission sources. The novel hybrid solar lighting system will provide internal illumination at optimal intensity and temperature conditions to maximize carbohydrate productivity. The carbohydrate fraction of the algae will be processed to obtain high value platform organic acids using a proprietary low pH fermentation process. The goal of this project is to a obtain proof-of-concept for a photobioreactor design that will maximize volume per unit surface area so as to obtain high areal carbohydrate productivity with a small land area footprint and low external energy input. Fiber optic lighting will be used to provide internal illumination. The project scope also includes the feasibility of converting algae via acid hydrolysis to sugars and subsequent fermentation of these sugars to high value organic acids._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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