Keith Hautala

CAER Scientists, Duke Energy Demonstrate Algae-Based Carbon-Capture System

Published: Nov 11, 2013

<--break->

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2013) — Researchers from the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) last week demonstrated a system that uses algae to absorb carbon dioxide emissions at Duke Energy's East Bend power station in Northern Kentucky.

 

Duke invited the scientists to present their work to a small group of special guests, including representatives from the Cincinnati Enquirer and radio station WUKY. The pilot-scale system, built with $1.8 million in funding from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and UK with in-kind contributions from Duke Energy, is the only one of its kind currently operating in a "real-world" setting at a coal-fired power plant.  

 

“UK has been a great partner to work with on this project,” said Duke Energy’s Emerging Technology Senior Project Manager Doug Durst. “This pilot-scale system provides Duke Energy with actual results from the algae cultivation, using flue gas from our coal-fired unit as the carbon dioxide source, while UK works on lowering the costs for a possible future larger-scale demonstration.”

 

Representing UK at the event were project coinvestigator Mark Crocker, CAER associate director in biofuels and environmental catalysis, CAER Research Program Manager Jack Groppo, research engineer Mike Wilson and researcher Stephanie Graham.

 

The system works by pumping carbon-dioxide-rich flue gas into a tank full of liquid medium containing tiny, single-celled, plantlike organisms called microalgae. While taking up the carbon dioxide, the algae circulates through a "photobioreactor" — a long course of clear plastic tubes — to absorb sunlight, after which it is returned to the tank and the entire process repeats.

The algae uses carbon dioxide and sunlight for photosynthesis to create the energy it needs to grow, which — in the enriched environment of the photobioreactor — it does very rapidly. Algae biomass is harvested from the system at regular intervals, after which it is dried and formed into sheets. Algae grown in this manner could potentially be used to make a variety of products, such as renewable diesel fuel.

 

"We talk about carbon dioxide as 'pollution,' but it's also plant food," Groppo said. "Algae not only does a great job of capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide, but it also gives us a useful raw material."

 

That's key, researchers say, because the value created by converting flue gas to biomass can help to offset the costs of the carbon capture technology. At a certain scale, it could even prove profitable. The pilot-scale photobioreactor occupies less than 1,000 square feet and contains 23,000 liters (roughly 6,000 gallons) of medium in an array of 8-foot-tall tubes. A full-scale system might occupy as much as 100 acres.

 

The Cincinnati Enquirer article may be viewed online at http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20131109/NEWS0103/311090039/Duke-UK-use-algae-eat-CO2-make-new-stuff.

 

A video explaining the process, produced by UK Research Media, can be viewed http://reveal.uky.edu/algae_part1_howitworks.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396; keith.hautala@uky.edu

algae_group_2.jpg
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
#maxfest (Ukirklex Campus Ministry)
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Working Moms Connection
Job Club - Job Search Strategies for Fall
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
The Future of Islam
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
9/11 Vigil
UKNABJ presents: Ferguson, Missouri: A look at media, politics and black youth in the U.S.
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
Duo Damiana, Molly Barth and Dieter Hennings
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Chellgren Seminar Series: Buck Ryan
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Big Blue Commonwealth
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Ryan Gardner Guest Trumpet Recital
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
The Case for Fossil Fuels-PEIK Seminar
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
College of Pharmacy Open House
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Diana Ferrus: 'Writing poetry has allowed me to live': Cultural Resistance in South Africa
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Pinterest Party
University of Kentucky Chamber Winds
Employer Showcase
Job Club - 10 Questions to Ask Prior to Starting a Business
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
BPH Open House
Documentary Film Screening - Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
¡Baila!
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Opening Night Bohemiam Festival
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Green Apple Day of Service: "Pick It Up"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
28
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
UK Chorale
Dirty Dancing Trip
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
#TrendingTopics: Immigration Reform
Apollo Duo - Flute and Percussion Guest Recital
Tue
 
 
 
 

Tue, 09/23/2014

Repeats every day until Wed Sep 24 2014 .
Tue, 09/23/2014

Reset Page