October 9, 2009

Project uses algae to convert CO2

A carbon-capture demonstrator project that uses algae to convert CO2 into proteins and oils at Scotland's oldest working whisky distillery has been switched on by Scottish Green Party MSP, Robin Harper.

Scottish Bioenergy Ventures (SBV) built the reactor at the Glenturret distillery in Crieff – home to the award-winning Famous Grouse Experience – which will capture and recycle CO2 into high-value protein and oil.

St Cyrus-based SBV won a prestigious Shell Springboard award earlier this year to trial the use of its process, which captures CO2 from the distillery's boiler exhaust and percolates it through algae reactors, converting it into protein and vitamin-rich animal feed. The company will also trial a novel oil-extraction system with the aim of creating biofuels from the algae.

The algae reactors also successfully eliminated chemicals and captured copper from the wastewater, reducing even further the environmental impact of the distilling process and reducing costs.

David Van Alstyne, founder and chief executive of SBV, said: 'The results from the trials of the project were extremely encouraging and we are confident this demonstrator project will be a huge success and benefit not only the Glenturret distillery but also the Scotch whisky industry.'

In time, SBV plans to roll out the technology for use in other industries that emit CO2.

SBV was founded in 2007. Its process won it the Scottish region Shell Springboard award in 2009, which provides a financial boost to low-carbon business ideas from across the UK.

Glenturret, which was built in 1775, is the most popular distillery visitor attraction in Scotland, with more than 100,000 tourists going through its doors during 2008.

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