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Algae – The Perfect Choice for CO2 Capture

June 6th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Carbon-Capture

Algae-based CO2 capture and the subsequent production of biofuels is a practicable way of reducing the emission of the green house gas in the atmosphere.

Professor Michael Aresta, a specialist in CO2 utilization studies, at the sustainable research conference in Barcelona, stated that CO2 capture could be used in a far better way for the manufacturing of chemicals. He is of the opinion that CO2 could be a viable alternative to more harmful chemicals in processes such as food preservation and water treatment, but only if the use of CO2 had a lower environmental impact and was more cost-efficient than the process it replaced.

As efficient consumers of CO2, algae provide a viable economic way of producing biofuels and green chemicals. He stated that if complex molecules are recovered from algae and use them for products, and then use the algae for biofuels, it will be a winning formula, since money can be made both from fuels and chemicals. As fuel prices are low, combining the chemical and fuel production process will be of great advantage.

Dr Lourdes Vega, director of MatGas, the CO2 research arm of the gasification company Air products, supports Prof Aresta in this regard. Vega highlighted MatGas’ research into carbon dioxide utilization, stating that 25 gigatonnes of CO2 were emitted annually three years ago, but only 125 megatonnes were used. Biofuel production from algae was one of the most promising technologies for CO2 utilization. Researchers also opine that artificial photosynthesis could help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere alongside carbon capture and storage technologies. This process will come out of laboratories and be attempted in a commercial scale in 2-3 years, but there are a lot of barriers to large scale commercial success, according to Vega.

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