Dow and Algenol Biofuels to build pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery

The Dow Chemical Company has announced its plan to work with Algenol Biofuels 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, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Membrane Technology & Research are contributing science, expertise, and technology to the project.

Upon approval of the grant, Dow and the other collaborators will work with Algenol to demonstrate the technology at a level to sufficiently prove that it can be implemented on a commercial scale.

"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. "We are very excited to be part of this ground-breaking alternative energy project, which is a good example of Dow's holistic approach to CO2 capture and storage by adding value through chemistry."

Algenol submitted its formal request last week to obtain a grant from the US department of energy for financial support to successfully conduct the pilot.

In addition to leasing the land for the pilot-scale facility, Dow plans to develop the advanced materials and specialty films for the photo-bioreactor system. In addition, Dow will also provide the technology and expertise related to water treatment solutions and will provide Algenol with access to a CO2 source for the biorefinery from a nearby Dow manufacturing facility.

According to Rich Wells, Dow vice president, energy and climate change and alternative feedstocks, "This is yet another way that Dow is helping to solve world energy challenges with our expertise in sustainable chemistry that is good for the world, and good for business."

Algenol possesses advanced third generation biofuel technology in the United States and makes low-cost ethanol directly from CO2 and seawater using hybrid algae.