In what is understood to be a world first, Algae.Tec has signed a deal with Australia's largest power company to site an algae carbon capture and biofuels production facility alongside a 2,640 MW coal-fired power station near Sydney.
The $140 million plan will see Macquarie Generation's Bayswater coal-fired power station fitted with carbon capture technology that will be used to produce jet fuels or renewable diesel. The process works by pumping the captured carbon emissions from the plant into sealed tanks filled with algae to spark the growth of the artificial algal blooms. The resulting algal oil will be collected for conversion to biodiesel and also hydrogenated to grade A jet fuel.
The first phase of the project will begin in 2014 and includes the installation of 400 closed tanks.
"This innovation offers great promise for an industry vital to NSW (New South Wales), giving it a long term and sustainable future by capturing and re-using carbon emissions from power generation," said Chris Hartcher, NSW resources minister.
Of the 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide the coal-fired power plant creates each year, the new capture tanks will eliminate 270,000 tonnes annually, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The announcement from Algae.Tec also highlighted added benefits of the deal are the creation of hundreds of jobs in a new and emerging industry for the Newcastle and Hunter region.