CO2 Sequestration in Northern Climes

Using algae to sequester CO2 from power plants and other CO2 emitting industries

CO2 Sequestration in Northern Climes

Postby jomobe » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:15 pm

I have spent some time researching the potential of Algae for CO2 sequestration. During this research I get the distinct ?impression? that proper light and/or temperature levels are critical for greatest efficiency of algal digestion of CO2.

I live above the 41st parallel in Michigan, which has the greatest concentration of coal-fired power plants between the 41st & 43rd parallels, which averages roughly 64 sunny days per year. If I operated a coal fired power plant and was considering algae cultivation for CO2 sequestration from my exhaust stacks, only 64 sunny days per year would strike me as being a deal-breaker. Generating the required light levels in a low natural sunlight climate is an added expense that detracts from the financial feasibility of such an endeavor.

This seems to leave maintaining optimal thermal levels as the only feasible means of creating the proper environment for efficient algae cultivation conversion of CO2 in stack emissions. Again, if I operated a coal fired power plant and was considering algae cultivation for CO2 sequestration from my stacks, the lower temperatures during winter months would also strike me as being a deal-breaker. That is UNLESS, transferring the heat from my stacks to an algae cultivator would be sufficient to maintain that optimal temperature during winter.

Does anyone know of a source of real data that could be accessed that could support the claim that "without ample light conditions, heat from stack emissions alone during the coal burning process would be sufficient to support the conversion of CO2 through algal cultivation”?
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Re: CO2 Sequestration in Northern Climes

Postby conjre » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:56 am

Unfortunately for photosynthetic algae you will need some form of visible light in order to actually fix the carbon from CO2. The heat mainly just keeps the kinetic processes running at a rate that makes everything fall into place. It's like trying to run a car(algae cell) with fuel(sunlight) and oil(temperature). You can run a car without oil however the engine is not going to run very long. Unfortunately it doesn't matter how much oil you put in your car(yes too much oil can hurt it to), unless you have an energy source it just will not budge. So I guess to answer your question, there isn't information to suggest that without light, heat provides enough energy to perform carbon fixation only because the energy is in the wrong form(thermal as opposed to visible energy).

What you may be able to do is find some way of using a thermocouple and the excess heat to run a bank of lights to provide the visible light source. You may want to look into research involving thermal to light energy conversions.
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