I thought it would be good to revisit the topic of CO2 capture (and partial sequestration) by algae, where the idea is to use the CO2 from concentrated CO2 emitting sources, especially power plants, to grow algae and use the biomass to produce biofuels. The concept is enticing in that it solves two problems in one go – reduces the net amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere while providing us with a renewable source of biofuel.
But, as will not be surprising, there are significant challenges this concept faces, and it can be safely said that it will take at least five years before anyone can convincingly come up with a biological/engineering model that can accomplish this sustainably. All the same, it is a domain that has exceptional potential. With this in mind, the Oilgae team does a continuous review of this field; I thought I’d share some of our latest thoughts about algae-based CO2 capture with you.
You will appreciate this is a relatively vast topic to be covered in a single newsletter; so I will limit myself to revisiting the real challenges that we see in algae-based CO2 capture.
I would request who would like more details on any of the challenges listed below to send me a note so I could answer specific questions (to the extent possible, that is).
It is difficult, if not impossible, to capture 100% of CO2 that is pumped into the ponds
Energy costs for constructing sumps
Storage of CO2 during night
Overall economic viability
Industrial incentives and perception
While Copenhagen was a disaster, I am not sure how much better Cancun has performed in the context of getting national mandates on CO2 capture / sequestration.
Water source near the power plants