Tuesday, January 10, 2012

[biofuelwatch] microorganism able to convert CO2 to biomass

RWE Power research identifies microorganism that converts CO2 to biomass

A joint research project between German energy company RWE Power and biotechnology company BRAIN has found a micro-organism that can convert CO2 from the flue gas of power stations into usable biomass.

RWE are hailing the breakthrough as a "strategic milestone" in its progress towards `clean coal' technology.

Researchers at BRAIN screened over 3000 microorganisms to find 29 promising candidates that have the potential to feed on CO2 and convert it into biomass or directly into secondary raw materials.

The work is being carried out at RWE's Niederaussem power plant, which is the centre of its `clean coal' activities.

So far, the partners have invested over €2 million in the project, but the promising results mean that the programme will now be expanded, says Johannes Heithoff of RWE Power.

"We are thoroughly convinced by the results delivered by BRAIN's research team in co-operation with our power station experts," he adds.

RWE Power says that it intends to look at other potential sources of carbon such as sewage water and waste from food or refinery processes.

Meanwhile, RWE npower is due to start commercial operations at its biomass power station at Tilbury in Essex later this month.

The last of three units totalling 750 MW will start producing power shortly and will, once at full capacity, be Britain's largest biomass facility.

The wood pellets that will be burned at the power station to produce electricity will be imported from the US and Europe.

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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