The Athens-based company
has been awarded $100,000 by the Ohio Third Frontier
for its project, Demonstration of Advanced Polymer Membranes for Algal Growth Enhancement, which will showcase how to mass-produce algae for the CO2 capture and biofuel markets.
“We’re commercializing some technology developed at Ohio University to enhance the amount of carbon dioxide that is taken from the air or from a gas, like at a power plant, and transfer it into the water where algae grows,” explains Dr. David Bayless, President of Eco2Capture. “In theory, you can grow more algae with more carbon dioxide and that really changes the economics of algal growth, because the more algae you can grow within a fixed system, the better your return.”
Algae is used for fuel, Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, nutraceuticals, and all kinds of dyes. The ECO2Capture membranes will be used to increase the productivity of algae for commercial algae growers by providing very inexpensive, just-in-time carbon dioxide to promote photosynthesis. The just-in-time delivery will also significantly lower variations in water acidity and promote algae culture health.
The technology, which Bayless characterizes as “quite simple,” is a membrane technology that accelerates the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, which in turn accelerates its acceptance into the water. Dr. Bayless and his supporting staff of Jesus Pagan and Dr. Ben Stuart will demonstrate the technology at four different sites at two different levels. First is an initial exam showing people that it works. “The other is to actually do some eco-productivity measurements and analysis of the algae.”
Dr. Bayless and his team are excited for the opportunity. “It’s a big step and without that funding from the state of Ohio, it would have been a real challenge for us to try to get pre-seed funding to do this demonstration,” he says. “This technology is very interesting, but it has not been proven at a very large scale. What we’re trying to do is take it out of the university environment and turn it into something that is actually practical.”
Source: David Bayless
Writer: Joe Baur