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Arizona Algae

At least one power plant cares enough to do something about
their greenhouse emissions.

In Arizona, the Red Hawk Power Generating Station owned by
Arizona Public Service (APS), is a large combined cycle
natural gas power plant. It burns natural gas to turn large
turbines which generates 1,000 mega watts of electricity
(enough for about 250,000 homes). The major emissions from this
process is water and CO2, (of course).

But, smart folks that they are, they know that when you combine
water, CO2 (carbon dioxide), and lots of Arizona sunshine, you
get the majic of photosynthesis. Now add a pinch of specially
selected algae.

That’s right kids! Algae! That great green stuff eats CO2 and
spits out oxygen!

So APS teamed up with Green Fuel Technologies in an experiment
to capture a portion of the plant’s greenhouse gases and waste
water, piping it to the bio-reactor tanks, which proportionally
distributes the CO2, sunshine, and water to the algae. Which in
turn eats the CO2 to it’s hearts content and grows until ready
for harvest.

At a certain concentration the algae is harvested. They are
looking at a three step process for the harvest:
Step one: Oils from the algae makes bio-diesel.
Step two: The algae starch makes ethanol.
Step three: Algae protein for cattle feed..
You can also make paper, plastics, and food products, (yuck!
I don’t know about that one!)

Capturing 100% of a power plants emissions takes 2 acres of
the algae tanks per mega watt. For this plant, they will eventually
have 2,000 acres of bio-reactor tanks surrounding it.

A power plant surrounded by green, how appropriate!

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No Responses to “Arizona Algae”

  1. Jeff Sutter Says:

    It happens that nat gas turbines (as well as coal fired boilers) will burn biodiesel just as well as natural gas. If the biodiesel is is used to close the fuel cycle, the requirement for gas is cut in half.

    Thinking about it the other way, if we use the spare nighttime capacity to recharge plug-in hybrid vehicles, it can be done without increasing the amount of gas burned.

    When we figure out how to grow this crop economically, the fuel saving will be all it takes to drive wide spread adoption. It is to dream, but hopefully only a little longer.

  2. Linda Says:

    amen, brother, amen! I would love to see it sooner but I agree with you. Thank you for coming by!

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