• Jan 6th 2009 at 8:57AM
  • 4
What's green and blue, eats CO2, and could wind up in your gas tank? If you answered heat-loving green blue algae (or thermophilic cyanobacteria, if you want to sound all smart and stuff), then ding! ding! ding!, you are correct! A pilot algae bioreactor project was just awarded a $375,000 grant by the Montana Department of Commerce and may, if it works out as hoped, pave the way for commercialization of the process.

GreenShift, a bio-fuel producing company, wants to use the CO2 emitted from corn ethanol production plants, along with concentrated sunlight and nutrient-rich water, to help grow massive quantities of a certain type of algae. The created biomass could then be used as a feedstock for different products; most notably, biodiesel. The company already operates a biodiesel plant in Michigan as well as several corn processing facilities. We're not sure if this will sooth the bruises suffered recently by ethanol but it can't hurt. Hit the jump to see the process explained in a short video.

[Source: Green Car Congress]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the way of the future to clean the exhaust of dirty smoke-stack and make money cleanly. It can add-up to coal fired plant and natural gas-plant that become carbon neutral with reduced operational costs. Oil refineries can reduce the quantity of their feedstock(crude-oil) with this too so clean their co2 emission and save on buying dirty feedstock.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Using CO2 produced by coal fired power plants is a no brainer, the CO2 is going to be produced anyway, coal being one of the cheapest and most abundant energy sources out there. And the release of the CO2 when the ethanol is burned is in place of CO2 that would have been released from gasoline or diesel. Basically, you are getting two uses of the CO2 for the price of one.
      And if the original CO2 comes from a marginal corn ethanol plant, corn being just about the worst of the ethanol sources, this at least maximizes an otherwise fairly poor EROEI. Plus it puts into place a system that will be able to ramp up much more quickly as switchgrass derived ethanol production begins to grow.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These numerous and old polluting natural-gas and coal powerplants that produce almost entirelly the electricity in u.s.a can consume back the fuel produced by the green algae that grows with their co2 emissions. One ton of co2 give 2 tons of green algae because green algae is 50% co2 and 50% water. So they burn back the smoke over and over and 99% of the pollution is illiminated and they save millions and millions of dollar in natural-gas and coal purchase.

      But wait, who is making money by suffocating peoples with natural gas and coal. They are surrelly poor folks without money and jobs and all they can do is helping us die. If we can breath freely then they will become forgotten folks. That's why people elected them in 2000. It was because they were asking them if they are allowed to breath and the question is still in suspend with your president making war on poor peoples in iraq and ordering studies of all sort and al gore is cashing lots of money selling the end of the world to actual businessmans.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This sounds great, but I'm pretty sure it would not make coal or natural gas plants carbon neutral. Any CO2 absorbed by the algae during growth is released when the processed fuel is burned.

      When algae grows naturally and extracts CO2 from the atmosphere, the burning of the fuel would be carbon neutral.