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CSU gets $3.2 million to develop algae for use as biofuel, food

CSU is one of 11 organizations across the country receiving federal funding to developing biofuels, biopower and bioproducts.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Colorado State University (CSU) has been awarded $3.2 million to help develop algae into a better crop for biofuel and other uses, including food.

According to a release from CSU, a team of scientists at the university will be tasked with developing ways to grow algae crops faster.

The release said the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) chose CSU engineers and biologists to engineer algae strains and improve cultivation operations to boost algae's rate of biomass production by 20%. 

>WATCH: The video above first aired in 2018. It's about a beer made with algae. 

The release said the project will be led by Ken Reardon, a professor of chemical and biological engineering with close to 20 years of experience analyzing and engineering bacteria and algae for the production of biofuels and other chemicals.

“Solutions toward the interconnected challenges of food, energy and water production are increasingly becoming critical for our planet in the face of climate change,” Reardon said. “Algae could be one of the solutions to those challenges, but we still have a lot to learn about how to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of making fuels and chemicals from algae. We’re confident this project will help the field take a big step forward.”

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CSU will partner with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Arizona State University for strain engineering, Qualitas Health for outdoor cultivations and Quantitative BioSciences Inc. and CSU startup OptiEnz Sensors LLC for sensor development, the release said.

RELATED: A fungus reduces the lifespan of Palisade's famous peach trees – CSU researchers aim to stop it

DOE awarded $34 million to 11 organizations across the nation for the development of biofuels, biopower and bioproducts, according to the release.

“From food waste to yard trimmings, biomass technology is converting our everyday trash into low-carbon fuel for planes and ships while cutting costs and supporting our critical transportation sector,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. “The companies and universities leading these projects will ensure that our cutting-edge biofuel technologies reduce carbon emissions, create new jobs up and down the supply chain, and are made in America by American workers.”

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