CO2-eating algae turns cement maker green 25A mixture of hot gas rises out of a flue stack at the St. Marys Cement plant about 50 kilometres west of Waterloo. But not all the CO2-rich exhaust is vented to the open air.
Some is redirected through a 15-centimetre thick pipe connected to the side of the stack. The pipe carries the gas into a high-tech facility where a species of algae from the neighbouring Thames River uses photosynthesis to absorb the carbon dioxide and release oxygen in return.
"It's a small model of what a big full-scale facility could be," says Martin Vroegh, environment manager with St. Marys Cement Inc., headquartered in Toronto. The algae project, which went live last fall, is believed to be the first in the world to demonstrate the capture of CO2 from a cement plant.
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