Department of Energy Awards CU-Boulder $3.1 Million for Carbon Capture Research

April 29, 2010 •

Two Boulder projects, including one from the University of Colorado at Boulder, have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive a total of $9 million for research projects that could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy.

The CU-Boulder project, funded for $3.1 million, will be used to develop very thin ionic liquid membranes that will allow the separation of carbon dioxide from combustion exhaust at high rates, reducing the cost and size of membrane technology for carbon-capture devices at places like coal-fired plants. The project is headed by Professors Richard Noble and Douglas Gin of the chemical and biological engineering department and is being undertaken with the collaboration of Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Electrical Power Research Institute.

A second award of $6 million was made to OPX Biotechnologies Inc. of Boulder to engineer microorganisms to use renewable hydrogen and carbon dioxide inputs to produce a biodiesel-equivalent fuel at low cost. The team will explore catalysts that can be used to convert the microbial fuel into jet fuel.

Funded through DOE's Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, a total of $106 million was awarded to projects that could produce advanced biofuels more efficiently for renewable electricity instead of light; design completely new types of batteries to make electric vehicles more affordable; and remove carbon pollution from coal-fired plants in a more cost-effective way.

The DOE awards were made through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For more information on the awards visit