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Algae used to capture CO2 at Australian coal-fired power plant

World Coal,

In what is understood to be a world first, Algae.Tec has signed a deal with Australia’s Macquarie Generation to site an algae carbon capture and biofuels production facility alongside a 2640 MW coal-fired power plant near Sydney. The Algae. Tec facility will reportedly cost AU$ 150 million.

Macquarie Generation, owned by the New South Wales (NSW) Government, has signed an agreement to site the Algae.Tec facility next to the Bayswater coal-fired power station, in the Hunter Valley NSW, and feed waste carbon dioxide into the enclosed algae growth system.

‘Bayswater Coal Plant’ Photo Credit: Macquarie Generation.

“This deal is an innovative means of capturing and reusing carbon emissions and providing the Hunter region with a locally produced green fuel source,” NSW energy minister, Chris Hartcher said.

The algae will feed on waste carbon dioxide emitted by the power station, then convert this into oxygen and oil through photosynthesis. The resulting algal oil will be converted to biodiesel, which will be used in vehicles.

Executive chairman of Macquarie, Roger Stroud, said algae biofuels offered NSW and Australia a new level of fuel security.

“At a time when petroleum refining capacity is closing down in NSW, this is the beginning of an era of renewable fuel which can be “grown” in the State and can substitute imported petroleum products,” said Roger Stroud.

Added benefits of the deal are the creation of hundreds of regional jobs in a new and emerging industry for the Newcastle and Hunter region.

“With this announcement today, NSW stands out as a global leader in the adoption of renewable technologies that makes our existing power generation infrastructure cleaner and produces valuable fuel oil.”

Stroud said the deal reflected a genuine desire on the part of the NSW Government and the NSW power industry, to support solutions to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuelled power stations.

Algae.Tec hope to begin construction of the project by March 2014, with the first production of oil commencing at the end of that year. The facility will initially produce about 50,000 tpa of oil, with the aim to increase this figure five-fold over three years, according to Stroud.

Edited from various sources by Samuel Dodson

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