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Algae for Seaport’s Energy Needs

April 1st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Energy-Products

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The Venetian port authority’s deal with Enalg, announced last week, represents one of the latest and highest-profile forays into algae-fueled energy production. As detailed in the port’s news release, the plan calls for construction of a $273 million, 40-megawatt power plant by 2011, using technology pioneered by Washington-based Solena Group.

Like many other plants, algae produce an oil that can be converted for industrial use. Solena’s process involves growing the algae in plastic cylinders that are supplied with water, carbon dioxide and sunshine. The resulting biomass is then turned into a synthetic natural gas to fire electricity-generating turbines. The carbon dioxide released by burning the gas is fed back into the system to help grow the next generation of algae.

“The lagoon surroundings are ideal for experimenting with this new technology,” said Paolo Costa, president of Venice’s port authority. “The objective is to guarantee the energy self-sufficiency of the port of Venice and, in the near future, to look for the possibility of supplying energy to the ships moored at the dock.”

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