Duke Energy Corp. will soon launch a program to test whether algae can be used to remove carbon dioxide from its coal-plant emissions.
Duke will employ technology designed by The ENN Group, one of its Chinese partners. ENN uses algae to capture carbon dioxide from the emissions of a coal-gasification plant in Langfang, China. Duke will attempt to duplicate that process — on a small scale — at its 650-megawatt East Bend Station in Boone County, Ky.
The process works like this: Algae, like all plants, use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis. So the carbon emissions can serve as feedstock for the plants’ growth. The ENN system grows algae in a series of tubes inside a box the size of a bus. Carbon dioxide from plant emissions is introduced into the tubes. The algae then can be sold for use in producing biodiesel fuel, fertilizer, animal feed and mineral products for use in concrete.