Algae-derived commodities can turn CO2 regulation from a problem into an opportunity for emitters facing new regulations for CO2 reduction
WASHINGTON, DC (June 2, 2014) The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the trade association for the algae industry, today released the following statement calling on the EPA to include Carbon Capture and Utilization strategies in rules proposed today that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants:
The saying “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is an appropriate metaphor for the approach to CO2 emissions reductions recently. The “nail” of CO2 emissions, it is believed, can only be addressed by the “hammer” of regulations to bury, sequester or otherwise get rid of the waste.
A new crop of algae technologies can flip this approach on its head by converting CO2 into valuable commodities for trillion dollar industries, thus turning a problem – the high cost of compliance – into an opportunity – an ongoing revenue stream.
Algae digest CO2 as they grow, returning clean oxygen to the environment while they produce oils and proteins. These oils and proteins can be used in the production of transportation fuels, animal feed, chemicals and food products. The more CO2 algae can consume, the faster they grow. As such, the US algae industry has a vested interest in obtaining as much CO2 as possible.
By co-locating algae production facilities at coal or gas fired power plants and onsite at other industrial emitters, they can become customers for waste CO2. One such demonstration facility, using CO2 from a coal fired power plant, has already been built in Kentucky. Another in Iowa is using the CO2 produced from ethanol production to create proteins for animal feed. This process is known as Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU).
By monetizing waste CO2 emissions, energy companies can, at minimum, offset the cost of compliance with regulations and thus avoid ratepayer impact. Depending on the size of the power plant, some could create an annual revenue stream that returns a profit. In either case, the CO2 will be producing commodities that create jobs at the plant and downstream, helping to create economic development in their communities and elsewhere.
The EPA stopped short of considering CCU as an approved strategy in its new rules for Existing Sources, so we will continue our efforts with EPA to try to get CCU qualified as an approved mitigation strategy. Including utilization in this proposed rule will ensure that the new regulations accelerate the adoption of CCU technologies, like algae. Furthermore, we look forward to being a resource for EGU’s to help them comply with the proposed rule.
Beneficial utilization of CO2 is the only option to turn the market forces and economics of waste CO2 into a ROI-driven, growth industry that will turn a huge problem into an economic opportunity. In doing so, we can achieve a rare trifecta – the reduction of emissions, the creation of jobs and economic development across the country, and a contribution to our food and energy security.
About the Algae Biomass Organization
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) is a 501 c(6) non-profit whose mission is to promote the development of viable commercial markets for renewable and sustainable commodities derived from algae. Its membership is comprised of people, companies and organizations across the value chain. More information about ABO, including its leadership, membership, costs, benefits and members and their affiliations, is available at the website: www.algaebiomass.org.
John Williams, Scoville Public Relations for ABO
206-625-0075 x1, email@example.com