Turn microalgae biofuel into gold mine, create circular economy of green energy
Organization: Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs Publish Date: 2016-08-17 13:00
The Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs (BOE, MOEA), has promoted the research and development of green energy for decades. On 19th July, 2016, BOE commissioned Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to sign a contract with Taiwan Cement Corporation (TCC) to extend the technical cooperation. TCC plans to build up a R&D center and expand its existing microalga-cultivation system into a 20 hectares outdoor microalgae farm, which will bring in an estimated annual reduction of 48,000 tons in CO2 emissions. The production of high-priced raw material astaxanthin also brings in business opportunities.
Since 2006, BOE and ITRI have invested in clean coal and promoted the development of carbon capture technology. In 2011, the cooperation was expanded to the domestic cement industry leader TCC so that a carbon capture pilot plant was established. On the concept of circular economy, recycled CO2 can be used to cultivate microalgae which has rich lipid and pigment. In addition to the benefit of reduction in CO2 emissions, CCS could be also applied for biofuel or astaxanthin production so that a circular and green-energy economy can be created.
The Minister of MOEA, Chih-Kung Lee stated that the government will focus on energy saving, energy creation, energy storage and integration of smart systems and continue in the promotion of energy conservation, reduction of CO2 emissions and renewable energy development so that the green energy industries can be fostered. The 2030 target of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels is set. The government is also active in reducing CO2 emission, focusing on research and technology, and providing solutions.
The President of ITRI, Mr. Jonq-Min Liu stated that many countries regard utilization of microalgae biofuel as a mid-to-long term bioenergy technology. Taiwan has limited land and is lack of natural resources. 1 kg microalgae can fix 1.83 kg CO2 efficiently. Microalgae is characterized with high growth rate, rich lipid content and production of valuable chemicals, so ITRI has created a "carbon recycling biosynthesis platform". ITRI and TCC have successfully set up a CO2 recycling mechanism in cement plant by use of technology and local algae cultivation. Cooperation between ITRI and TCC can promote the industrial transition and upgrade, expand production capacity, step into the value chain of the biotech industry in astaxanthin production and then complete the model of circular economy.
In response to the global energy trends, BOE will continue promoting the cooperation between industries, government and research entities for the development of green energy so as to benefit energy, economy and environment.
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