Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cleaning up pollution with pond scum

Algae's ability to soak up carbon dioxide could help make coal-fired Kentucky power plants more environmentally friendly

University of Kentucky researchers are among a growing number around the world looking at algae as a potential answer to our energy puzzle.
Call it the pond scum solution.
While most of the research into these oily aquatic plants focuses on how to turn them into liquid fuels, UK's Center for Applied Energy Research is also looking at using algae to scrub carbon dioxide and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants.
The idea is to use the way algae, like other plants, naturally soaks up carbon dioxide. The algae, which grows quickly, could then be converted into liquid fuel and other products.
"This would not only allow us to continue to use coal in an environmentally acceptable way, but would also allow us to reduce dependence on petroleum," said Rodney Andrews, director of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research and an associate professor of chemical engineering.