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MINIMIZING CARBON DIOXIDE FROM COAL-BURNING SMOKESTACKS

MINIMIZING CARBON DIOXIDE FROM COAL-BURNING SMOKESTACKS

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Published by Tom Slattery
An idea to capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plant emissions by using solutions of oil-producing algae, sometimes called oilgae, to "eat up" the carbon dioxide while also producing usable oil.
An idea to capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plant emissions by using solutions of oil-producing algae, sometimes called oilgae, to "eat up" the carbon dioxide while also producing usable oil.

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Published by: Tom Slattery on Apr 22, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/11/2014

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MINIMIZING CARBON DIOXIDE FROM COAL-BURNING SMOKESTACKSBy Tom SlatteryLet me propose the following idea because it would seem to help. But I don't knowhow much it might help. Perhaps you engineering and biological science numbers-crunchers might give it a whirl.Current practical solutions for minimizing release of carbon dioxide into theatmosphere from coal-burning electricity-generating services and similar coal-burning industries seem unrealistically expensive and sometimes a little bizarre.This proposed practical solution to the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide beingdumped into the atmosphere and causing catastrophic environmental problems fromglobal warming takes the following two things into account.1. As many of you probably know, there are algae that produce oil – sometimescalled oilgae.2. As a practical matter, as much as we might hope for it, coal fired plantsprobably won't be decommissioned soon. There is too much dependency on this sourcefor our electricity, too much money invested and involved, and too littlealternative to quickly replace it.So here might be a way to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from coal-firedpower plants and at the same time produce oil, some of which could be directbiodiesel, and/or some of which might be used to make plastics, tires, etc.Use algae to produce oil. Bubble carbon dioxide emissions from smokestacks throughtanks or tubes of algae-filled solutions that "eat up" the carbon dioxide.I have no idea what maximum densities of these oil-producing algae in water andnutrient solutions might be or how much "oil" could be produced in a given volumeof solution. And thus I have no idea how big "tank farms" of these algae wouldhave to be. But my gut says it seems possible and practical.The idea would be to create enormous "tank farms" adjacent to coal-fired plants.The transparent tanks or transparent tubes (to capture sunlight) would be filledwith water, nutrients and oil-producing algae. Cooling towers would seem to benecessary. And more acid-tolerant algae might have to be bred.The basic idea is this. Carbon dioxide from the power-plant emissions would bebubbled through the algae solutions.The algae would turn the carbon dioxide gas into organic material, including oil.The algae would also grow ultra-fast in this carbon-dioxide-rich solution.The algae might be harvested daily for direct diesel fuel (possibly withoutrefining) and/or other petroleum-similar oil products.You may ask how this improves anything for global warming?Well, it doesn't. Someone might still burn the oil as, say, diesel fuel and re-emit the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But that assumes that all of thealgae-produced oil is to be burned.In a worst-case scenario where it is indeed all burned, there would still be somenet savings in carbon dioxide production for the same amount of work done.

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