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Local Tech Wire

DURHAM, N.C. – , a Durham-based startup focused on alternative energy and other emerging technologies, is part of a consortium that will receive $44 million in federal research funding for turning algae into renewable energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced two major grants for the algae fuel research effort earlier this week.

Palmer Labs is part of the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts that received one of the two awards. The other award of $33.8 million went to the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium that is led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“Advanced biofuels are crucial to building a clean energy economy,” said DOE Secretary Steven Chu. “By harnessing the power of science and technology, we can bring new biofuels to the market and develop a cleaner and more sustainable transportation sector. This investment will help spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry, while creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

The funding also required a contribution of $19 million from private sector and other sources of funding.

Palmer Labs has developed technology for algae that “will help provide a solution to the problem of CO2 emissions and, at the same time, provide algae for both food and energy production,” according to Bill Brown, the chairman of Palmer Labs who also is a member of the faculty at Duke Law School.

Palmer Labs is working with the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts, which is based in St. Louis.

“This power system allows us to use algae to turn sunlight—the ultimate renewable resource—into electricity,” said company President Miles Palmer. “Our system is designed to use biomass, natural gas or coal while capturing virtually all the CO2 emissions at a cost lower than present commercial systems.”

Palmer Labs is affiliated with 8 Rivers Capital, which is based in Durham.