Anna, Algae & Anglo All Together

Anna, Algae & Anglo All Together


Queensland Premier Anna Bligh officially opened a world-leading algal bio-fuel research and development facility at Townsville’s James Cook University, on the same day mining giant Anglo American snapped up a 20% stake in Melbourne-based MBD Energy, which is developing multi-billion-dollar algae farms to capture and sequester emissions from coal-fired power stations.


Queensland Government announcement (20 November 2009):


Premier opens new green technology facility in Townsville



Premier Anna Bligh today officially opened a world-leading algal bio-fuel research and development facility at Townsville’s James Cook University, that could hold the key to rapid reductions in carbon emissions from coal fired power stations.


Ms Bligh said the revolutionary algal carbon capture and storage (BIO-CCS) technology is already proving successful in trials and will soon be rolled out at three coal fired power stations, including Tarong Power Station near Kingaroy.


“This technology has the potential to revolutionise carbon capture in Queensland and around the world,” Ms Bligh said.


“The facility is doing important work, using algae as a carbon-capture method, which will add to our options in dealing with Co2 emissions.


“Essentially, the algae eats the Co2 and excretes biofuel and stockfeed – so the Co2 is captured and turned into something we can use.


“It’s another great example of the ground-breaking research that’s occurring in Townsville and throughout Queensland.


“As our state continues to grow and coal remains a key export, it is essential we come up with new ways to manage the impact of that growth on our environment.


“There has been much talk about preventing climate change, but here in Queensland, we are taking action.


“We are getting on with finding solutions through smart state thinking that could open whole new opportunities for our industries, as well as local communities.”


Ms Bligh said the 5000 square metre research plant has proven capable of producing 14,000 litres of oil and 25,000 kilograms of algal feed for livestock from every 100 tonnes of carbon consumed.


“My Government kick started this research in May last year with a $160,000 grant and there has also been significant private investment leading to the opening this new facility.


“The emerging success of this project is great news for the people of Townsville, building a reputation for the city as the home of emerging green technology.”


The Premier congratulated MBD Energy and James Cook University for leading the world in this research.


“BIO-CCS will now step into the next phase of development with MBD partnering to construct test facilities at our Tarong Energy Power Station, along with two other coal fired power stations in NSW and Victoria.


“MBD will be investing $2.5 million to help bring this technology to life at Tarong Power Station.


“The trial aims to capture 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and if successful could expand over the next five to ten years to consume more than half of Tarong’s problem flue-gas emissions.


“Its early days for this technology – but this is carbon capture which has massive potential. It’s in Queensland’s interests to make coal plants cleaner.”


MBD Energy Limited Chairman, Jerry Ellis predicted that BIO-CCS and Algal Synthesiser technology would emerge as a vital and viable CO2 abatement technology option for all existing coal and gas fired power stations, smelters and refineries around the world.


“Our fully enclosed and continuous cycle system has been designed to mimic the fundamental processes of the Earth’s natural carbon cycle but do the job in a matter of hours rather than millions of years,” Mr Ellis said.


“Best of all, the valuable commodities produced by Bio-CCS with an MBD Algal Synthesiser, more than pays for the comparatively modest infrastructure investment required.”


James Cook University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding, said that the University’s specialist Algal Synthesiser team, led by Professor Rocky de Nys and Associate Professor Kirsten Heimann, have provided a tangible demonstration of the JCU’s commitment to high quality and high impact work that will make a difference.


“With the strong support of the Queensland Government we have forged a partnership between academia and industry through MBD Energy which will have long term and far reaching consequences,” she said.


“Professor de Nys and Associate Professor Heimann and the team they’ve pulled together from around the world are helping create a new and sustainable industry that has the potential to be a major contributor to reducing greenhouse gases.”


Professor Harding said that the Facility was already creating jobs and providing crucial practical experience for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.


Source: and 


The Australian reported (20 November 2009):

MINING giant Anglo American has snapped up a 20 per cent stake in Melbourne-based MBD Energy, which hopes within five years to be developing multi-billion-dollar algae farms to capture and sequester emissions from coal-fired power stations.

The emergence of Anglo American as a cornerstone investor in MBD Energy is the latest in a series of deals in which mining groups and utilities have taken positions in new technology that could cut their greenhouse emissions.

Algae is being discussed with great enthusiasm among the energy utilities, which see it as a cheaper, more effective and more immediate solution to reducing greenhouse emissions than geological carbon capture and sequestration.

Privately owned MBD will today announce that Tarong Energy is to become the third coal-fired utility in Australia to agree to install a pilot plant for its technology, along with Eraring in NSW and Loy Yang A in Victoria.

MBD hopes to have all three pilot plants up and running within six months, followed by 80ha facilities by 2011.

If the plants prove successful, MBD Energy managing director Andrew Lawson said, the company would be able to commit to multi-billion-dollar projects that could capture half the utilities’ emissions and produce valuable bio-products such as fuel, plastics and feedstock.

A 5000sq m test facility at James Cook University has produced 14,000 litres of oil and 25,000kg of algal meal from every 100 tonnes of CO2 consumed.

Anglo American is also considering MBD technology to reduce emissions from its coal mining operations, although this time using oxidising bacteria rather than algae to capture methane.

“Despite the usual risks associated with emerging technology, the MBD Energy project has the potential to mitigate Anglo American’s carbon footprint,” Anglo chief commercial officer Neil Dhar said.

Mr Lawson said two energy companies – one a leading Australian group and the other an international group – were also conducting due diligence on becoming cornerstone investors alongside Anglo, with only one likely to be chosen.

Anglo American’s initial investment is believed to be less than $10 million, but it has agreed to provide expansion funds as its rolls out its technology.


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