Algae Companies Ask EPA to Endorse Carbon Capture Efforts

by | Aug 12, 2014

AlgaeAlgae companies ready to bring their carbon capture and utilization efforts to the marketplace are asking the EPA to support the technology as a viable alternative to carbon capture and sequestration in its carbon pollution regulations, according to Environment & Energy Publishing.

Algae companies need a large, constant amount of carbon dioxide for their CCU technology to work, and they need to get it for free from power plants.

The algae industry is concerned that if the EPA does not actively endorse CCU technology as a carbon capture alternative, utility companies will have no reason to give away their CO2 for reuse.

Technologies that algae companies use differ, but ultimately they convert CO2 and sunlight into oil. This can then be refined into fuel, nutritional products, cosmetics and other items. In recent years, interest and investment in algae-based CCU technologies has been on the rise.

How the EPA decides on the issue will essentially boost the algae industry or shut it down, according to Matt Carr of Algae Biomass Organization.

To date, the EPA and the Obama administration have put most of their emphasis on CCS. Earlier this month the US Department of Energy awarded $13.8 million in funding to 13 CCS development projects.

However, Paul Woods of algae company Algenol said he met with White House senior adviser John Podesta and special assistant to the president for energy and climate change Dan Utech two weeks ago and the pair was “very receptive” to including more flexibility in EPA’s proposals to allow for CCU.

An additional challenge facing algae companies is that products created with their technology may ultimately produce CO2 when used, and the EPA has said that new carbon capture technologies must result in permanent storage of carbon.

Photo Credit: Algae via

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