Algae devour carbon dioxide

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Carbon dioxide, often criticized, however, can become a useful resource. Indeed, different strategies used to exploit the CO2 produced by fossil fuels are to the study.
Thus, the laboratory Brindisi ENEL Ricerca is in the process of studying the possibility of using carbon dioxide to accelerate the development of micro-algae which absorbs in the chlorophyll photosynthesis. These microalgae same can then be used to extract valuable chemical compounds or to obtain fuel.
Gennaro De Michele, le responsable du projet, explique :  » Dans notre laboratoire, nous sommes en train d'experimenter la possibilite de realiser des cultures de micro-algues en environnement de croissance enrichi, avec un taux de dioxyde de carbone egal a celui present dans les fumees des usines ». Il serait donc possible d'alimenter les bassins ou sont cultives les vegetaux directement avec les rejets des centrales. De Michele precise : « Nous travaillons actuellement avec l'algue Phaeodactylum tricornutum, qui a
of very interesting properties. This vegetal extract is indeed more polyunsaturated fatty acids valuable for our organization belonging to the family of Omega 3. Moreover, it would be possible to extract the algae biodiesel ".
The idea to use the carbon dioxide to useful microalgae culture is also followed in other countries of the world: the United States for example, microalgae cultures enriched in carbon dioxide environment already exist , and such applications are also presented in Brazil and India.
"We are still in an experimental phase - explains De Michele. However, today already in the laboratory, in the presence of high concentrations of carbon dioxide, our microalgae grow up 3 times faster. "
However, this path is not a comprehensive solution to the problem of carbon dioxide. Michele says: "This is an extremely complex challenge, in which he must act with different parameters: first, the performance of facilities, the use of renewable energies and finally, storage and use carbon dioxide.
Cette derniere voie est tres interessante et peut mener a l'obtention de composes chimiques precieux, comme les polycarbonates par exemple ; a produire de l'energie renouvelable sous forme de biomasse ; ou encore a produire des roches dans lesquelles le dioxyde de carbone serait definitivement fixe. La culture des micro-algues est l'une de ces voies mais, meme si elle etait utilisee pour la production d'un biodiesel, elle absorberait seulement une petite partie de la production globale de CO2. « 

source: The sun 24 hours, 11 / 11 / 2004


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