A project aimed at using captured Co2 from flue gas to produce algal biofuels is moving into it’s next phase.
The US Department of Energy project is at Touchstone Research Laboratory in West Virginia, and it will use algae to photosynthesize CO2 captured from a small coal-fired combuster.
Once the algae has grown in the 4 ponds used, it will produce oils (or lipids) due to the CO2, which could be harvested and used to produce biofuels.
Innovative ‘phase change materials’ will be used in the trial to cover the algal ponds. This absorbs the sunlight in the day and releases it at night in order to maintain a constant temperature. This also minimises evaporation and prevents other species from entering the ponds.
The ponds should produce approximately 2000 gallons of oil a year, and this will be upgraded to biofuel. Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center will perform an anaerobic digestion process which will convert the residual algae biomass to methane.
The trial will run for 14 months by Touchstone which will gather information for future commercial efforts.
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