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Energy, and Algae, Grows On Buildings

December 14, 2012 By Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

OriginOil and Ennesys’ algae harvesting system — which the companies say generates clean energy for buildings, helps with water purification and advances France’s energy goals — has been highlighted in the grand opening of an urban algae showcase near Paris.

The showcase building in the La Défense complex featured algae growth systems developed by Paris-based Ennesys, supported by California company OriginOil’s Algae Appliance (pictured) in the harvesting phase.

According to the companies, French developers contacted Ennesys, in which OriginOil holds a founding stake, to see if algae production could help meet France’s ambitious mandate that by 2020 all new buildings must generate more clean energy than they consume, and must purify and recycle water naturally.

OriginOil shipped its entry-level Algae Appliance to Ennesys in July. The entry-level unit can process up to four liters (about a gallon) of dilute algae water per minute, intermittently or continuously, without the use of chemicals, into an algae concentrate. The resulting concentrate will then be converted into fuel, electricity and industrial chemicals.

The flat-paneled algae harvesters are mounted on the outside of buildings, and the buildings’ wastewater, which filters through the panels, feeds the algae, PSFK reports. The water can be reused until its nitrates are depleted; it’s then used for graywater. Additionally, the panels insulate the building, further reducing energy use.

A study published this month in the journal Energy & Fuels found that biodiesel derived from oleaginous microbes — including microalgae — is an effective substitute for both petroleum diesel and biodiesel produced from plant oils, Environmental Leader reported.

Propel Fuels and Solazyme have partnered to make algae-based fuel available at retail pumps through a month-long pilot program, the companies announced last month. The pilot program will test consumer response to the renewable fuel, which will be sold at Propel’s Clean Fuel Points in Redwood City, San Jose, Berkeley and Oakland, Calif.

 



One comment on “Energy, and Algae, Grows On Buildings

  1. Reading this article, the one thing that struck me is that these algae harvesting units don’t seem very practical, At least not in those areas where the temperature routinely drops below freezing or they will freeze up, crack or otherwise be rendered useless.

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