Why Algae for CO2 Capture
Algae, ranging from single-celled microalgae to large seaweeds, are the simplest and most abundant form of plant life, responsible for more than half of the world's primary production of oxygen.
Algae are an extremely important species. For one, they produce more oxygen than all the plants in the world combined! For another, they form an important food source for many animals such as little shrimps and huge whales. Thus, they are at the bottom of the food chain with many living things depending upon them
Apart from their ability to produce biofuels, they are also capable of fixing CO2 in the atmosphere, thus facilitating the reduction of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, which is now considered a global problem.
A comparision between algae-based CO2 capture and geological sequestration has been highlighted in the table below:
|Algae-based Technology||Geological Sequestration Technology|
|Sustainable||Social problems arises|
|Safe||Untested on large scale|
|No need to transport CO2||Need to transport CO2 to sequestration site|
|Generates biomass||No additional revenue|
|Coupled with wastewater treatment||Coupled with oil recovery|
|$ = carbon credit + nutrient credit + biomass||$ = carbon credit|
Bio-fixation of CO2 using microalgae has emerged as a potential technology for carbon- dioxide fixation. Algae have the advantages of a more efficient photosynthesis superior to C4 plants (those green plants that form four carbon stable intermediates during the photosynthetic process).
- Using Closed Photobioreactors for Algae-based CO2 Capture (James Sears, 2007)
- Biodiesel Production from Algae with high carbon dioxide utilization (Hazlebeck et al., 2010)
- Coupling Waste water treatment and CO2 capture using high carbon-dioxide tolerant Algae Species: Chlorella( Hu et.al, 2010)
Peer reviewed research articles
- Biological approach using solar energy to capture CO2 while; producing H2 and high value products from algae (Skjånes et al., 2007) - Read More
- Perspectives on microalgal CO2-emission mitigation systems — A review (Ho et al., 2010) - Read More
- Evaluation of strategies for the subsequent use of CO2 (Schaefer et al., 2009) - Read More
Note: Monoethanolamine (MEA) extraction is a commonly used method for the extraction of CO2 from flue gas
The algae production facilities can thus be fed with the exhaust gases from coal-fired power plants to significantly increase the algal productivity and clean up the air. A key benefit from this technology is that the oil found in algae can be processed into a biodiesel. Remaining components of the algae can be used to make other products, including ethanol and livestock feed.