A pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert CO2into ethanol will be built at a Dow Chemical Co., site in Freeport, Texas. Dow, based in Midland, Mich., will work with Algenol Biofuels Inc., Bonita Springs, Fla., to build and operate the plant.
“This project and the innovative technology involved offers great promise in the battle to help slow, stop and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions,” says Andrew N. Liveris, Dow chairman and CEO.
Algenol’s technology uses CO2, salt water, sunlight and non-arable land to produce ethanol. Dow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Membrane Technology & Research Inc. are contributing science, expertise and technology to the project.
Algenol has applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. If granted, Dow and the other collaborators will work with Algenol to sufficiently prove that the technology can be implemented on a commercial scale.
In addition to leasing the land for the pilot-scale facility, Dow plans to develop the advanced materials and specialty films for the photo bioreactor system. In addition, Dow will provide the technology and expertise related to water treatment solutions and give Algenol access to a CO2source for the biorefinery from a nearby Dow manufacturing facility. The CO2will be supplied to the algae in the photo bioreactors and will serve as the carbon source for the ethanol produced. The result will be a CO2-capture process that converts industrially derived CO2into more sustainable fuels and chemicals.