Car Diesel from Algae
Researchers think algae might be part of the answer to slowing greenhouse gas emissions at power plants, and ultimately climate change. Coal fire plants release gas into the air and now it’s being trapped and used to grow algae. Then the algae can be turned into other Jet Fuel and Car Diesel.
The University of Kentucky makes jet fuel and now also want to make renewable diesel fuel,” said Biofuels Research Engineer Michael Wilson with the University of Kentucky.
Going from algae to jet fuel may sound like a big jump, but making new materials out of coal burning byproducts has been going on for years.
Over the years, new equipment is added that traps different chemicals. At this plant, things like sulfur, ash, and mercury are no longer released into the air, but it goes one step farther. The byproducts created while capturing these chemicals can sold and used in concrete and even drywall manufacturing.
Very fast photosynthese
Algae are microscopic water balloons, dissolved and very diluted in water. Like all plants, they grow and make food using carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water through photosynthesis. Inside the tubes with the flue gas, they have all the carbon dioxide they could want. It’s a Kentucky alga, readily found in many of the waterways. The scientist are harnessing its ability to do photosynthesis very, very fast. So it’s consuming CO2 as it grows.
To scale the process up – to take on all of the flue gas – is a hugh operation. It takes hundreds square miles, just a factor of how quickly the organism grows and how much CO2 is being generated. But they can produce ‘an awful lot of biomass and an awful lot of final product’.
The flue gas coming from a coal fire plant, ten percent of it is CO2. Nitrogen is the most abundant gas coming from the stack.
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