Missouri’s electric cooperatives and two universities are working together to see if algae can reduce carbon dioxide gas emissions and create a renewable biofuel.
A new project will send a small portion of coal power plant fumes into pools of water covered with algae at the Central Electric Power Cooperative’s plants, East of Jefferson City. In addition to reducing green house gases, a byproduct of the algae is oil that could be converted into a biofuel. The project could be a solution to one of the biggest challenge facing our nation, said Dr. Gale Buchanan, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary.
"I make no bones about it, I think this is something that simply has to be solved," he said. "In fact, we have no alternative but to solve it. If we want to inhabit this planet for the future we have to have energy and as long as we depend upon finite resources for energy we have trouble. We’ve got to get to sustainable energy."
Scientists at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla and Lincoln University in Jefferson City will work with Associated Electric Cooperative and Central Electric to see if algae can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants. Researchers at both universities will then harvest the algae and work to turn the oil into a biofuel. State and federal grants will fund the university research. The electric companies will provide infrastructure and places for onsite experiments.