Algae that thrives on power plant pollution could be ethanol source

By on July 17, 2013
Image: Microscopic strain of Heterosigma akashiwo (Credit: Gabriela Hannach, NOAA)

University of Delaware researchers have conducted a yearlong study that suggests a particular algae species might be effective at reducing power plant pollution and producing biofuel, according to a release from the university.

Heterosigma akashiwo is a microscodpic strain of algae that is found throughout the world. Researchers discovered that this particular strain is able to thrive on a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitric oxide, which are common greenhouse gases typically released from power plants.

The algae also release carbohydrates as a byproduct. These carbohydrates can then be converted into bioethanol that can be used as an alternative fuel source for vehicles.

The findings could help provide a cost-effective solution to curbing greenhouse gas pollution.

Image: Microscopic strain of Heterosigma akashiwo (Credit: Gabriela Hannach, NOAA)

About Adam Redling

Adam Redling is a contributing writer for the Environmental Monitor. He covers the latest news, studies and products in the field of environmental research.

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