Print
Achievers & Accolades

UNCW Researcher Granted $1M

By Staff Reports, posted Jun 28, 2022
UNCW Research Professor Catharina Alves-de-Souza has been awarded a $1 million grant as part of more than $3 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, according to a news release from UNCW.

The grant is part of the ARPA-E HESTIA program, "which prioritizes overcoming barriers associated with carbon-storing buildings, including scarce, expensive and geographically limited building materials," the release stated.

The HESTIA program aims to increase the amount of carbon stored in buildings to create carbon sinks, which absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than is released during the construction process.

The project, “A Photosynthetic Route to Carbon-Negative Portland Limestone Cement Production,” will investigate an alternative method to generate cement that stores carbon dioxide (CO2) by using calcifying microalgae that capture CO2 in the form of limestone plates that cover their cells, according to the release.

Alves-de-Souza will be a part of an interdisciplinary team comprising researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The project is led by Wil Srubar, an architectural engineering and materials science associate professor at CU Boulder.

Alves-de-Souza and Michael Guarnieri, senior scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, are co-principal investigators.

“This neutral-CO2 cement would be used to replace normal cement in concrete structures, which would contribute significantly to reducing the carbon footprint of the cement industry,” said Alves-de-Souza, director of the Algal Resources Collection at UNCW’s Center for Marine Science, in the release. “We will also obtain other high-value products from the microalgae, such as lipids and proteins, which will make the project economically viable.”

The project represents one of the more innovative and exciting examples of microalgal biotechnological applications, Alves-de-Souza added.

“The proposed biotechnological approach offers a revolutionary pathway to produce, for the first time, CO2-neutral portland cement using microalgae. Nothing like that has ever been attempted before.”

“I am honored to be leading a world-class team of scientists and engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder and our partner institutions,” said Srubar in the release. “Our partners bring deep expertise in microalgae cultivation and algal biomass valorization, along with advanced tools to help us select and optimize high-performing algal strains.”

The cement industry accounts for 7% of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide, most of which is released due to calcining (heating) quarried limestone, according to researchers.

“Concrete is an essential resource for climate-resilient construction, but the production of one of concrete’s main ingredients, portland cement, is energy-intensive and generates a large amount of carbon in the atmosphere,” said Stuart Borrett, associate provost for research and innovation at UNCW. “If successful, this research could have a positive impact on the Earth’s climate. UNCW is excited to partner with the University of Colorado Boulder to advance this important discovery and innovation effort.”

The UNCW-ARC team will be responsible for screening hundreds of microalgae cultures to select the ones with characteristics for maximal growth and calcification. The team will also use existing knowledge of the normal functions and environment of the microalgae to optimize their growth conditions to produce the required volume of microalgae, said Alves-de-Souza. The NREL team will work on the genetic improvement of the coccolithophore microalgae to achieve maximal production.
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Katiebraskett web

June 2022 Freight Market Update

Katie Braskett - MegaCorp Logistics
Headshot1 2162265156

The Guiding Principles of a Credit Union

Sarah Stone - Excite Credit Union
Cfss headshots parker robert webversion 21422121214

Can an HOA Deny Solar Panels?

Robert Parker - Cape Fear Solar Systems

Trending News

Galleria Property On Wrightsville Ave. Sold For $37.5M

Cece Nunn - Aug 10, 2022

Leland Town Center Lands New Tenant; Lowe’s Begins Construction

Johanna F. Still - Aug 10, 2022

Pipeline Poke Headed To Autumn Hall

Elizabeth White - Aug 10, 2022

Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse To Appear At GLOW Event

Justin Williams Pope - Aug 10, 2022

New Biz Creations In Cape Fear Region Continue Strong Trend

Johanna F. Still - Aug 9, 2022

In The Current Issue

Schools Face Nursing Shortage Crises

The pandemic-induced havoc on hospitals around the country still ricochets across systems today. A dire trend accelerated and emerged: a sho...


Film Focus: Printing The Scene

Port City Signs & Graphics "does everything for their set in the way of decals, magnets, backdrop items, canvas art, vehicle graphics and se...


Commercial Tenants Navigate Rent Spikes

One of the realities small businesses throughout the area face when trying to find commercial space, which also include increasing rents and...

Book On Business

The 2022 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100