Algae machine to reduce Australian coal plant CO2

MBD Energy installing first of many planned OriginOil systems for turning carbon dioxide into algae oil.

Micro-algae at an MBD Energy station. MBD Energy

Australia-based MBD Energy is installing an algae system from OriginOil at its coal power station in Tarong, Australia, both companies announced today.

The system will capture flue-gas emitted from the coal-fired power station using a bio-based carbon capture storage device containing micro-algae. The micro-algae uses the captured CO2 to reproduce more algae biomass, which can then be used for fuel or plastics.

The Tarong power station in Queensland will be able to process up to 300 gallons of algae culture per minute, but is only a one-hectare site. The small station will serve as the test site for a larger planned set-up at the company's 80-hectare (197-acre) facility, according to MBD Energy.

OriginOil has been partners with MBD Energy for a few years, working to figure out how to harvest algae from coal pollution. In December the two companies announced they were developing a two-step system that would allow MBD to capture its CO2 pollution from converted coal with micro-algae and convert it into algae biomass that can be used for oil or even plastics.

The machine at Tarong is the result of that collaboration.

"OriginOil's participation with us in this landmark power station project provides a strong base for MBD Energy and OriginOil to prosper as a result of a growing pipeline of large-scale CO2 to Energy Algal Synthesizer installation projects at power stations and other emitters in Australia and around the world," MBD Managing Director Andrew Lawson said in a statement.

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In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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