Alternative Fuels Australia

Joint venture for coal-sequestering algae announced

Posted by Car Geek on November 27, 2007

Algae being grown from CO2. Image from http://flickr.com/photos/mrgordon/659829132/, licenced under CC 2.0. Two Australian firms, Linc Energy and BioCleanCoal, have partnered together in a joint venture to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from Australian coal-fired power stations to use as fuel or fertiliser, even re-burning it to produce additional energy.

The companies will spend $1 million to build a prototype reactor in Chinchilla, which will use the carbon dioxide emissions from the power plant to grow algae, which can then be dried and turned into biodiesel at low energy costs.

Hamish Macdonald, a company director of BioCleanCoal, says that the process can easily remove 90 per cent of carbon dioxide from the plant’s emissions, with 100 per cent removal possible but unlikely due to the increased costs.

“We’re very confident we’re going to be able to make a significant impact on emissions,” added Malcolm Lamont, a chief scientist at BioCleanCoal.

If the trial is successful, the joint venture will consider building a full-scale bioreactor, at an estimated cost of $30 million to $40 million.

In a similar project, a Laverton-based company is also working to refine a local species of algae to convert into biodiesel. BioMax plans to produce 100 million litres of biodiesel annually, using carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions from the La Trobe coal-fired power station.

Mile Soda, managing director for BioMax, says that the process could produce 50 to 100 times as much biodiesel per hectare as crop-based biodiesel, such as canola. The first batches of algae-derived biodiesel could be produced within two years.

(Sources: Greentech Media, Star News Group)

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3 Responses to “Joint venture for coal-sequestering algae announced”

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