A new algae power plant that can run on a fraction of the energy it consumes is set to be rolled out in Alberta.
The new plant, called Aquarium A, is a 100-megawatt, 200-megabit-per-hour facility that uses algae as fuel and power.
It’s part of a broader algae farm, which is already being built in Alberta, that will be capable of generating power from algae-based fuels.
“We’ve seen algae power plants, but we’ve never seen a facility that could generate power from it as efficiently as Aquarium is going to do,” said David Anderson, CEO of the Alberta Power Company.
Aquarium A’s algae farm is set up in a gravel pit near a river in central Alberta.
The gravel pit is lined with hundreds of tiny algae cells, and the water in the pit is fed back into the aquifer, where the algae produce their energy.
Anderson said the algae are “not really the biggest or most efficient plants, so they are not going to be able to compete with hydroelectric power, but Aquarium can be an extremely efficient power plant.”
The algae power system will be operational by the end of 2019.
The algae plant will have its power generated by a new algae feedstock called “sulfuric acid,” Anderson said.
The algae are extracted from a lake, and are then fed back to the algae farm.
The feedstock is a mixture of seaweed and algae, and Anderson said the seaweed has a higher protein content than algae, which gives the algae more energy.
The plant will also use algae as a feedstock for fertilizer.
Anderson and the Aquarium team will use algae to build a new biofuel that they hope will be a substitute for petroleum.
Anderson said that the new feedstock “could be used for biofuels and biofuel production, and that’s where we’ve been able to see the most growth in that sector.”
The Aquarium Aquarium biofuel could also be used in new technologies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy, he said.
The Aquaria algae farm will be operated by Alberta Energy and Natural Resources, Alberta Power and a consortium of environmental groups.
The Aquarium project is part of the “Coal for All” initiative, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030, according to the Energy Ministry.