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Use of carbon dioxide from flue gas for production of microalgae

Carbon dioxide for the growth of algae in thin-layer solar bioreactors comes from the combustion of municipal waste. Its use decreases the price of algal biomass, extends its utilisation and reduces the amount of waste co2 emitted into the atmosphere.

The joint stock company TERMIZO (a.s.) has built and commissioned the most efficient Czech incinerator of municipal solid waste in the North Bohemian town Liberec. It has been proven that its residual pollution is lower than the 10% level of current European limits for contamination of flue gas by heavy metals and organic persistent compounds (dioxins); this manifests a high quality of installed technology and its efficient function. Carbon dioxide is the only compound affecting the environment and cannot be removed from the flue gases by current methods. Worldwide attention is being paid to this gas because of its negative effect on global warming. Taking into account that 45 million tons of organic waste per year is combusted in the EU, new ways leading to a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions generated by combustion of waste are very important. One of the ways of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions and utilising it as a secondary raw material is its bio-fixation via photosynthesis into fast growing aquatic organisms, in particular algae. The freshwater unicellular micro-algae of the genus Chlorella are among the most promising. Chlorella cultures growing in appropriate inorganic nutrient solution enriched by carbon dioxide are relatively easily cultured, producing biomass with a high content of valuable bio-compounds. In view of this, the international programme 'Humanitarian Use of Food Micro-algae against Hunger and Malnutrition' coordinated by the UNO identifies Chlorella and other algal species (Spirulina) as a new source of proteins (its amount in dry mass of algae reaches about 60 %). The Czech cultivation system (Cz.Pat. 279579,1995, Greek Pat.1002924, 1998, U.S.A. Pat. 598127 A, 1999) developed by the INSTITUTE OF MICROBIOLOGY ASCR in Trebon has an edge on currently known alternative systems: the suspension of algae flows in only several millimetre thick layers down an inclined area arranged in a meandering way. In this way, the volume of suspension per culture area unit is 50 times smaller and the harvest density is 50 times higher than in currently used cultivation ponds. The feature of a low culture volume makes it possible to optimise the culture growth parameters, while reaching in this manner higher yields of biomass at lower production costs in comparison with the above-mentioned pond technology. A prerequisite for intensive growth of algae in a bioreactor is a sufficient supply of carbon to algal cells, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide. However, the price of commercially available carbon dioxide is rather high and represents circa 50% of costs of all required nutrients. The aim of the proposed project is to work out a procedure for algal biomass production and to test the resulting biomass quality using the thin layer culture technology, where the source of carbon dioxide for growth of algae is derived from the combustion of municipal solid waste processed by the TERMIZO company. Use of this CO2 can reduce the price of the algal biomass and extends its utilisation in human and animal nutrition. Furthermore, it can serve for reducing waste carbon dioxide emitted from flue gases into the atmosphere. The proposed project will be solved on the Czech side in cooperation with the following partners: TERMIZO A.S., LIBEREC, INSTITUTE OF MICROBIOLOGY, CZECH ACADEMIC SCIENCE, Trebon and FUEL RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Prague. The foreign project partner will be the Division of Algal Biotechnology, INSTITUTE FOR CEREAL PROCESSING, LTD., NUTHETAL, OT BERGHOLZ-REHBRUECKE, GERMANY. This institute has long-term experience with the development of equipment for laboratory and outdoor cultivation of algae in closed bioreactors and with commercial application of algal products as food/feed additives, in cosmetics and pharmacy. Keyword: biofixation of CO2, algal biomass, incinerator.
Acronym: 
BIOFIX
Project ID: 
3 650
Start date: 
01-01-2006
Project Duration: 
48months
Project costs: 
920 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Solid biomass
Market Area: 
Electric companies

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