Algae power

Arup and the Centre for Process Innovation are moving ahead with their efforts to scale up a novel idea that could revolutionise carbon capture.


Arup and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) are moving ahead with their efforts to scale up a novel idea that could revolutionise carbon capture.


The organisations have developed a system of using algae and the carbon dioxide emitted by power stations and factories to produce environmentally friendly bio-based products.


If successful, the new system, developed using the combined expertise of CPI and Arup, will allow the biomass from the algae to be recycled and used to produce a variety of products that include bioethanol, methane and a non-chemical soil conditioner.


The idea first originated during Arup’s work on carbon capture and research into food technologies for the Dongtan eco-city project. It has been further developed with process and systems engineers from the CPI.


Peter Head, global head of planning at Arup, said: ‘The use of algae in this way could have a vast impact on the environment. It has the potential to reduce the carbon dioxide that power plants emit by 70 to 80 per cent – improving their carbon footprint. The algae could also potentially provide an alternative source of fuel in itself, and through its by-products, a new revenue stream to support investment in carbon-capture technologies.’


Dr Graham Hillier, low-carbon energy director at CPI, said: ‘We are planning a rapid research and development programme to move the concept from small-scale testing to larger-scale demonstration. We are also looking at ways of integrating the processes into existing power supply and waste management systems.’