Jul 13, 2012
E Cape varsity says its algae-to-energy research is yielding resultsBack
Africa|CoAL|Components|Generators|System|Waste|Africa|South Africa|Algae-to-energy Research|Bio-crude Oil|Chemical Technology|Energy|Equipment|Greener Coal Product|Oil|Power Generation|Power-generation|University Of Cape Town|Ben Zeelie|Power|Waste
© Reuse this
Algae-to-energy research being con- ducted at the Nelson Mandela Metro- politan University’s institute of chemical technology, InnoVenton, is said to be yielding a bio-crude oil that can be separated into jet fuel and other liquid fuels.
The researchers believe the solution may be also be capable of expanding the life span of coal reserves with a greener coal product.
InnoVenton uses microalgae to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into bio-crude oil and director Professor Ben Zeelie says talks have started with leading international airlines regarding the production of jet fuel from the resource.
“An in-depth analysis of our oil, carried out by the University of Cape Town, revealed that about 30% of the mass of oil we make is perfect for jet fuel,” he says.
In addition to jet fuel, InnoVenton is hoping to produce a significant amount of a so-called ‘bunker 150 oil’ equivalent from the bio-crude oil for power-generation purposes.
“Industries in South Africa burn millions of litres of this fuel in power and heat generators each year,” said Zeelie.
“Each year, South Africa’s mines produce about 70-million tons of coal waste, enough to run about twenty 1 000 MW power stations. The stockpile of discarded coal in South Africa is estimated at more than 2.5-billion tons, enough to run 20 power stations for more than 30 years, if we can find a way to recover and use this coal waste.”
Zeelie and his team have found that, if coal dust and algae biomass are mixed, the algae collects onto the surface of the coal and binds it with the dust.
The result is a coal-algae agglomerate, which enables the handling of the waste coal by using normal mechanised equipment.
“During this process of binding fine coal particles, the quality of the coal can be improved significantly by separating the minerals, such as common silicates, from carbon components,” says Zeelie.
If InnoVenton were to produce sufficient microalgae to recover all the fine coal produced in South Africa each year, an area of about 50 000 ha would be needed to grow the algae and it would be a R93-billion investment with a three-year payback time.
InnoVenton plans to establish a one-hectare technical demonstration photo-bioreactor facility to prove the technical and economic viability of the cultivation system later this year.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Energy News
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...