Government invests $1 million in algae carbon capture project
The State Government has committed $1 million for a groundbreaking trial which uses algae to soak up carbon emissions from a coal fire power station.
(Media-Newswire.com) - The State Government has committed $1 million for a groundbreaking trial which uses algae to soak up carbon emissions from a coal fire power station.
Premier Anna Bligh said Tarong Power Station near Kingaroy will be the first coal-fired power station in Australia to try the technology as part of the $5 million MBD Energy Limited Tarong trial.
Premier Anna Bligh said the technology would not only capture CO2 from the plant but it would also produce a range of valuable products.
“In simple terms the algae eats the carbon and then produces material that can be used in things like bio-diesel, stockfeed and bio-plastics,” she said.
“This technology has enormous potential to make a positive impact in our battle against climate change,” she said.
“But the products it can produce means it could also be worth many millions of dollars to the Queensland economy.”
Ms Bligh said that as part of the trial MBD Energy would start construction on a one hectare algal biomass display plant beside Tarong Power Station, 180km north-west of Brisbane, in December.
“The research and development for this landmark project has been undertaken at a purpose made facility at James Cook University in Townsville,” she said.
“This is a wonderful example of the sort of smart and green industry that can see Townsville become a globally recognised city.”
Premier Bligh said MBD Energy had also agreed to build facilities next to power stations in Victoria ( Loy Yang A ) and New South Wales ( Eraring Energy ), with construction underway first at Tarong.
The Tarong Power Station test plant, once fully built, is expected to capture about 700 tonnes per annum of CO2, the equivalent of taking 170 cars off the road for a year.
It is also expected to produce one tonne of algal biomass per day, 120 tonnes per annum of algal oil and 240 tonnes per annum of algal meal by 2012.
The Algal Synthesis process involves the injection of carbon gases into waste water contained in large plastic tubes to produce oil-rich algal biomass every 24 hours.
Member for Thuringowa Craig Wallace said: “It can be harvested every day to produce algal meal suitable for animal feed and oils that can be used to make plastics and transport fuels.
“It’s a clever concept and I take my hat off to the local team at JCU for their ingenuity,” he said.
Member for Townsville Mandy Johnstone said that the sale of the products could offset the cost of building and operating the carbon capture technology.
“For technology such as this to be developed in Townsville shows the great potential our city has to become a global leader in tropical technology,” she said.
Member for Mundingburra Lindy Nelson-Carr said there had already been successful trials of the technology at JCU’s Townsville campus.
“This new trial is about testing the technology on an industrial scale and this Townsville developed technology has a real chance of making a difference in the battle against climate change,” she said.
MBD Energy Limited’s Managing Director Andrew Lawson welcomed the Queensland Government funding, saying it would directly assist MBD and JCU establish the proven technology at the company’s Algal Synthesiser at Tarong.
“If successful we expect to commercialise the Tarong project by expanding to approximately 80 hectares, thereby producing 11 million litres per annum of algal oil and 25,000 tonnes of algal meal and abating approximately 70,000 tonnes of CO2 during 2013,” Mr Lawson said.
Director of JCU’s North Queensland Algal Identification and Culturing Facility Associate Professor Kirsten Heimann said the Tarong project would confirm selection of the best strain of microalgae.
“Strain selection and management is a vital component to the success of large scale algae biomass production,” she said.
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Media Contact MBD Energy Limited: Peter Cassuben, Communications Director Phone: ( 02 ) 9965 9301 or Mobile 0417 980 009
Contact for Associate Professor Kirsten Heimann
Phone: ( 07 ) 4781 5795, Mobile: 0422 208 577
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