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Comment Environment, Health, Safety & Security

A commercial move toward algae farming for CO2 recovery

By Paul Grad |

Advanced Algal Technologies (Sydney, Australia; www.advancedalgal.com) has signed a $100-million deal with Fuzhou Xiangli Enterprise Management Consulting (Fuzhou, China) — an LED-lighting manufacturer — for a license to build 500 algal-farming-conveyor modular units per year. These units will be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing plants in China. Traditionally, algae have been grown either in open ponds, or in bioreactors (see, for example, Chem. Eng, September 2008, pp. 22–25). Both entail serious limitations: open ponds are subject to external conditions such as weather, pollutants and wildlife; bioreactors may require expensive sun tracking equipment and involve problems in harvesting the algae. Meanwhile, bioreactors still rely on contact of the gas bubbles in the water to dissolve the CO2. In the patented system, developed by Advanced Algal Technologies, the algae are grown on a fabric inside an insulated building, within a precisely controlled environment. The algae can grow to a density of 100 g/m2 per day. The algae are in constant contact with the correct levels of CO2 in the atmosphere of the growing structure, and the use of a wet mat technology provides a high molecular transfer…
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