Our ninjas over at architecture.MNP recently brought us this post on Parans SP2, a technology that channels natural sunlight through fiber optic cables into the indoors. Interestingly, this reminded me of a technology that utilizes the same light-sequestering concept to grow algae from CO2. Algae, as many of you may know, has been deemed by some to be the future of the biofuels industry. Not only will algae eat up CO2 (and NOx) from power plants, ethanol plants or any other CO2 producing industry, but it is an ideal [non-edible] source of oil for making biodiesel. The stuff can also be fermented to make ethanol, gasified to make methane/syngas or dried to make solid biomass.
GC Clean Tech Corporation bought the rights to a technology developed by Ohio University’s Ohio Coal Research Center for a bioreactor that uses fiber optic cables to concentrate light and direct it into a chamber. Inside the chamber are stacks of plates designed such that the algae has maximum surface area to grow on. The CO2 source is also directed into the chamber for the algae to feast on. This sick video does a much better job of describing the process than I.