A Robust Algal Assemblage to Enhance Carbon Dioxide Capture and Improve Biomass Production

­A Robust Algal Assemblage for Biomass Production and Carbon Dioxide Capture

Executive Summary:

Stable algal assemblage cultured for biomass production and carbon dioxide capture is robust under different bioreactor configurations, environmental conditions, and CO2 supplements.


Carbon dioxide accounts for 82% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Sustainable carbon capture is essential for decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and mitigating global warming. Microalgal cultivation continues to be a preferable solution due to its capacity for carbon dioxide capture and generation of value-added algal products. When comparing algal species, Chlorella were found to have higher rates of production and carbon fixation, making them an ideal species for bioreactor cultivation and carbon dioxide capture. However, a challenge with microalgal cultivation is maintaining long-term culture stability and robustness.

Description of Technology:

This robust algal assemblage, made up of the microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana and various bacterial taxa (Betaproteobacteria, Cyanobacteria), was isolated from the Great Lakes region. The assemblage can symbiotically utilize either carbon dioxide or formate as energy and carbon sources to accumulate biomass and produce products. This assemblage was cultured at pilot scale in a bioreactor (100 L working volume) under power plant-like conditions semi-continuously since 2018. The assemblage is very stable without major contamination or cultivation failures. Multiple experiments have shown that the assemblage is robust under different bioreactor configurations, environmental conditions, and carbon dioxide supplements. As an example, under conditions of 7% v/v carbon dioxide supplement and 24 °C, the biomass productivity was 600 g/m3/day and the carbon dioxide uptake rate was 344 g carbon dioxide/m2/day.

Key Benefits:

  • Assemblage is stable under long cultivation times with little contamination or cultivation failures
  • Assemblage can be utilized under different bioreactor configurations, environmental conditions, and carbon dioxide supplements


  • Use in bioreactors for biomass production and carbon dioxide capture
  • Production of high-quality algal products

Related publications:

A long-term pilot-scale algal cultivation on power plant flue gas – Cultivation stability and biomass accumulation. Cutshaw et al., Algal Research, 2020. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2020.102115)

Effects of water recirculation on microalgae assemblage and corresponding sustainability of the photobioreactor cultivation system. Daiek et al., Biomass and Bioenergy, 2022. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2021.106326)

Inventors: Dr. Wei Liao, Dr. Yan Liu

Technology ID: TEC2019-0036

Please contact Julia Miller at 517-884-0721 or mill2034@msu.edu for more information.

Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University