MAGIC (Marine AlGae Industrialization Consortium) – Combining biofuel and high-value bioproducts to meet the renewable fuel standard (DOE Funded Project #DE-EE0007091)
Lead Institution: Duke University
Consortium Members: ADM, Bentley University, Bucknell University, Cornell University, Shell, Nord, University of Hawaii-Hilo, University of Hawaii-Manoa, The University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas Austin, Valicor
The objective of this project is to demonstrate, using a multiproduct commercialization path, an algal biofuel at commercial scale with a positive energy return that achieves the Renewable Fuel Standard, (RFS), and sells at a price of less than $5 per gge. The approach is founded on our achievements to-date in algal biofuel and co-product development, and is aimed at increasing overall algae product value (and thereby decreasing the net cost of algae biofuel). This project is driven by product specifications in four markets including (i) drop-in fuels – the foundational product, (ii) a salmon feed ingredient equivalent to fishmeal in protein content and biochemically superior to soy and other protein meals; (iii) a poultry feed ingredient that is superior to commonly used soymeal in protein content and contains other important micronutrients; and (iv) a dairy food replacement for human food, equivalent in protein content to soy, rice, and other plant-based replacement products, but superior in the content of essential fatty acids and micronutrients. All three co-products approximately scale with fuel, thus are viable solutions on the commercial scale. To demonstrate product value for each product, we will (1) Define product specifications and commercialization opportunities in collaboration with commercial; (2) Match product specifications for these products as closely as possible to marine algae strains from our highly characterized collection of hundreds of strains; (3) Cultivate selected strains at bench scale to provide a comprehensive assessment of their performance against product specifications; (4) Cultivate, harvest, and process ~10 strains in quantities of ~50 kg per strain, providing ample material for product development trials; and (5) Continuously evaluate commercialization potential by using economic and life cycle analyses iteratively as a design tool at each stage to guide product development. Results from this project will have a substantial impact on the environmental and economic benefits of algal biofuels. The proposed bioproducts, to the extent they replace current feed and energy crops, would also confer a significant increase in benefits with regard to recognized greenhouse emissions by virtue of the positive effect of indirect land use change brought about by the 50-fold land-use intensification achieved by algal production. Core members of this Consortium, who have over the past 10 years taken the initial leading steps in product development and demonstration with substantial industry and government support, are joined by members with specific commercial interests in the development of biofuels, aqua feeds, poultry feeds, and human foods. The combined abilities and experience of this proposed Consortium position it for success, and will broadly benefit the US algae industry from growers of algae to developers of harvesting and extraction tools to end users of bioproducts.
More information on the project can be found here: algaeconsortium.com