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Cheaper Carbon Capture and Algae

Take a look at some recent findings by chemistry researchers at the University of South Florida and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. They have developed a material that could make it substantially cheaper to capture carbon dioxide from the flue gasses of a power plant or other sources.

One of Sapphire Energy's 2 acre algae pondsCapturing carbon dioxide from these sources is one of the most expensive aspects of technologies that could help fight climate change by preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere in the first place. In some cases it has been estimated to add 20% or more to the cost of producing power if it were used in coal or natural gas fired facilities.

A leap in making carbon capture more efficient could also help the algae industry leap forward. Since algae are voracious consumers of CO2 the gas can quickly become one of the largest cost centers for algae producers. Instead of diverting the CO2 into underground formations the gas could be used by large-scale algae farms to produce renewable fuels, fertilizers, plastics, feeds…the list of algae-derived products goes on and on. And they all have substantial market value.

That might be good news for these researchers when you consider their next steps: determining how their new material can be manufactured and applied at a large scale. Perhaps the can find room to grow with one of the companies deploying algae technology to large-scales.

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