Technology Validation Program (TVP) Awards $40,000 to Improve Algae Harvesting for Biofuels

Algal biofuels are a huge potential renewable fuel source that could reduce our carbon dioxide pollution. Although there are many companies who have attracted billions in investments, no company yet has been able to make this a profitable fuel source. One important factor in achieving economic production of biofuels is the need to efficiently harvest algae on a large scale.

Dr. Russell Hill, professor of microbiology at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) will oversee the project of Dr. Ryan J. Powell, a recently graduated student in the MEES Graduate Program, to make algal harvesting efficient. The research has been awarded $40,000 by TEDCO’s TVP. Dr. Powell’s technology uses metallic beads to bind the algae.  The TVP project will focus on developing a method of recycling the beads to make the technology efficient and economic.

The Technology Validation Program includes two distinct components ─ a Technical Assessment component and a Market Assessment component. The Technical Assessment component consists of awards up to $40,000 to conduct proof-of-principle studies that validate a technology’s use for a specific commercial application and advance it to a point where it might be more attractive to a prospective licensee. Technology Assessment awards are made for projects that can be completed in 6 – 9 months.

The Market Assessment component consists of awards of up to $10,000 to support a market analysis and the development of a Commercialization Plan for a technology. Market Assessment awards are made for projects that can be completed in two to three months. All universities in Maryland, except those participating in the MII program, and other non-profit research institutions in Maryland are eligible for both phases of the program , and Federal laboratories having a partnership with TEDCO are eligible for the Market Assessment funding under the Program.