The new plant will produce up to 1.2 million litres of biodiesel and 2.2 million litres of bioethanol. (Photo: seealgae/algaevs/FIS)
First algae-based biofuel plant to be built
Thursday, July 12, 2012, 16:20 (GMT + 9)
Brazil will begin next year the industrial production of biodiesel and bioethanol from seaweed.
The first production plant of such biofuels will be built in Pernambuco, in the northeast of the country, following an agreement reached between the company See Algae Technology (SAT), from Austria, and Grupo JB, from Brazil.
The Austrian company will provide the technology and the Brazilian firm will contribute with the site to build the factory in Vitoria de Santo Antao, a town located 53 kilometres from Recife.
The plant and the marine farm of one hectare of genetically modified algae will be installed in the last quarter of 2013 with an investment of BRL 19 million (USD 9.3 million).
In the marine farm algae will be developed in an appropriate environment that will have a system that absorbs sunlight and transmits this solar energy via optical fiber up to closed reactors where algae perform photosynthesis, Xinhua reported.
It will also be possible to take advantage of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ethanol production to favour photosynthesis and reduce the emissions of polluting gases into the atmosphere.
Both companies expect that annually the new plant will produce up to 1.2 million litres of biodiesel and 2.2 million litres of bioethanol.
According to Grupo JB President, Carlos Beltrao, the project is expected to begin operating at full capacity in 2014, when another plant will be built in Linhares, a town in the state of Espirito Santo.
The fuel will be produced from two strains of transgenic algae developed by the Austrian firm.
SAT also agreed with the South American company to market its algae production technology in Brazil.
"It consists of recycling [the CO2 emitted] and conversion into fuel. One hectare of algae consumes 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. The CO2, which is the villain of the climate, becomes valued raw material," said Rafael Bianchini, director of SAT in Brazil, according to Do Globo Naturaleza.
With the extraction of omega-3 fatty acids from processed algae and its marketing by Brazilian companies, Bianchini hopes to contribute to the reduction of fishing for marine species that are experiencing the impact of predation.
By Analia Murias