MSU, PHYCO2 collaborate on algae growth demonstration project

Michigan State University and PHYCO2, an emerging algae growth and carbon dioxide sequestration company, have announced a partnership designed to generate sustainable, clean-energy sources through a new method to produce algae.

The partnership will demonstrate the patent-pending PHYCO2-developed technology to sequester CO2, reclaim water and continuously grow multiple types of algae without sunlight at an accelerated rate. The goal: To meet the growing demand for algae for biofuels, pharmaceuticals, foods and other purposes.

PHYCO2 developed this technology to overcome current industry restraints such as limited access to sunlight, slow algae production rates, contamination risks and space restrictions. The technology can capture harmful greenhouse gas emissions while producing large volumes of biomass and clean oxygen, all without sunlight.

“The formation of this partnership with MSU further confirms not only the viability of our technology, but also signals a clear path to commercialization,” said PHYCO2 CEO Gregory Hagopian.

The technology will be tested at MSU’s Simon Power Plant, in coordination with researchers Wei Liao and Susie Liu, faculty members in MSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering.

“This project allows us to be where we thrive – on the cutting edge of technology,” said Robert Ellerhorst, director of utilities at the MSU power plant. “This joint effort is one of several steps in MSU’s efforts to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from our campus power plant.”

The Dow Chemical Co. played a notable role in forging the partnership and will validate the performance, mass and energy balance of these demonstrations throughout the 18-month project.

“At Dow, we continue to be interested in all technologies that can offer options for capture and recycle of CO2, and we look forward to following the progress of the demonstration project,” said Michael Mazor, a Dow Energy research fellow.

Researchers are hopeful the new technology will allow them to begin serious efforts to use algae in fields that desperately need alternative energy sources.

The work will be done at MSU’s Pilot Anaerobic Digestion/Algal Cultivation Facility. Located at the Simon Power Plant, the facility was built to comprehensively research and develop anaerobic digestion, algal cultivation, and associated technologies with emphasis on bioenergy production and environment protection. The facility includes a half-acre algal open-pond, a 250,000 gallon bioreactor and two 1,000-square-foot laboratories equipped with advanced analytical instrumentation.

Source: MSU