Algae to Suck CO2 @ Alberta Tar Sands?
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OK, folks, this is a relatively old news story (May 20080, but something I picked up only today and thought it was mighty interesting for one key reason: American government thinks its immediate future lies in the Canadian Tar Sands @ Alberta, and everyone else thinks extracting oil from these tar sands is going to be intensely polluting, apart from the fact that it is much more costly than just hose the oil up from a well. Now, if someone could only solve the pollution problem…
Aha, algae again to the fore!
Canadian researchers hope algae offers them “la grande solution” to greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental havoc caused by oil extraction in the Alberta tar sands. The project – Carbon Algae Recycling System – is backed by a consortium of researchers.
The plan is to grow the algae on toxic tailing ponds that have attracted much scrutiny in the oil sands. The algae doesn’t just consume CO2, they also love some heavy metals, nitrogen, and residual hydrocarbons. If the approach could be made to work–including the required management of algae growth, handling, and harvesting–the algae could be used to produce biofuels and a number of other products as they suck up CO2 and clean up other chemicals.
“Industry is incredibly interested in this, because they can see it has a potential to take a cost burden out of the equation and turn it into a revenue-generating device, which is huge,” says John McDougall, CEO of the Alberta Research Council.
Read the full story here