Algae-based Biofuels from Power Plant Emissions, Redux

Seambiotic Algae Pond

Image courtesy of Seambiotic

The jury of public comment came to a split decision the last time I wrote about plans to make algae-based biofuels from coal-fired power plant emissions so here's another plan to thrash about, this time in Israel.

Inventure Chemical and Seambiotic have announced that they have formed a joint venture to construct a pilot commercial biofuel plant with algae created from CO2 emissions as a feedstock. The plant will use algae strains that Seambiotic has developed coupled with conversion processes developed by Inventure to created ethanol, biodiesel and other chemicals.

Amnon Bechar, Seambiotic's CEO said of the project, "The biofuel that's created...can be used in the power generator's operations, or sold on the open market to create a new revenue stream. Either way, this model can pay for the infrastructure necessary to put it in place."

Can coal (or its byproducts) ever be Green?
I'm still not convinced that, no matter the virtues of algae-based biofuels (which certainly do exist), plans like these will ultimately just not result in burning more coal. We can feel a bit better that more energy is produced for a given amount of coal burned, but that's about it. With coal in the equation to grow the algae I don't think this can truly be considered a green fuel. It may be a step in the right direction, but a half step at best.

:: Inventure Chemical
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