The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) announced today that it plans to work with Algenol Biofuels, Inc. to build and operate a pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert CO2 into ethanol. The facility is planned to be located at Dow's Freeport, Texas site. Algenol's technology uses CO2, salt water, sunlight and non-arable land to produce ethanol. Dow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Membrane Technology & Research, Inc. are contributing science, expertise, and technology to the project. Algenol submitted its formal request last week to obtain a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for financial support to successfully conduct the pilot.
"This project and the innovative technology involved offers great promise in the battle to help slow, stop and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions," stated Andrew N. Liveris, Dow chairman and chief executive officer. Algenol be sourced a CO2 for the biorefinery from a nearby Dow manufacturing facility. The CO2 will be supplied to the algae in the photobioreactors and will serve as the carbon source for the ethanol produced. The result is a CO2 capture process which converts industrially derived CO2 into ethanol which is an important ingredient in plastics industry besides being a key chemical and sustainable fuel.