A test algae bioreactor project run by GreenShift Corporation was just awarded a $375,000 grant by the Montana Department of Commerce and may, if it works out as hoped, pave the way for commercialization of the process of producing algae from carbon dioxide emissions.
The funding is provided through the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization, a unit of the Montana Department of Commerce. The objective of the grant award is to demonstrate the production of algae from an industrial source of carbon dioxide in Montana using GreenShift’s bioreactor technology. GreenShift is to provide matching funds of $125,000.
The bioreactor technology uses thermophilic cyanobacteria (heat loving algae) to consume carbon dioxide emissions. Parabolic mirrors capture sunlight and then transfer and filter the light to a series of light pipes which channel the light into the bioreactor structure where it is used to grow the algae. Water, containing nutrients, continuously flows over a growth medium. The resulting biomass could then be used as a feedstock for different products; most notably, biodiesel.
GreenShift plans to co-locate bioreactors at corn ethanol production plants and other fermentation processes where concentrated supplies of carbon dioxide are naturally emitted and are relatively easy to capture and control. GreenShift plans to leverage its existing corn oil extraction platform and presence in the US ethanol industry to reduce capital and go-to-market costs as it brings its bioreactor technologies to market.
Note the image is of a generic Algae Photo Bioreactor