Venice plans algae-fuelled power plant

Venice’s seaport plans to become self-sufficient in its energy needs by building a power plant fuelled by algae, Reuters reported. An emissions-free energy source would help preserve the historic lagoon city’s delicate ecological balance, according to Venice’s port authority. Excess energy could be supplied to ships docked at the harbour.


The facility would be the first of its kind in Italy and only the third being planned in Europe. Officials said the plant will be operative in two years and produce 40 megawatts of electricity. Costing US$272.6 million, it will be built in collaboration with the renewable energy services company Enalg.


Several companies are competing to find economic ways to turn algae, one of the earth’s oldest life forms, into vegetable oil that can be made into biodiesel and other fuels.


In Venice, the algae will be cultivated in laboratories and put in plastic cylinders where water, carbon dioxide and sunlight trigger photosynthesis. The resulting biomass will be treated further to produce a fuel to turn turbines. Carbon dioxide produced in the process is to be fed back to the algae, resulting in zero emissions from the plant.


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