Last Updated: 2012-07-21
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RIO DE JANEIRO, July 21 (NNN-MERCOPRESS) -- The world's first industrial plant producing bio-fuels from seaweed will be built in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco in late 2013, the official in charge of the project says.

The factory, to be set up by Austrian firm SAT (Sea Algae Technology) on a sugar cane plantation that yields ethanol, will produce 1.2 million litres of algae-based bio-fuels annually, said Rafael Bianchini, the head of SAT Brazilian subsidiary.

The 9.8 million USD facility will make use of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in the ethanol production to speed up the photosynthesis process in the seaweeds and thus reduce emissions of polluting gases into the environment, he said Friday.

Bianchini said the goal was to convert the CO2 from a passive to an active state, making use of the strong CO2 emissions lost in the sugar cane ethanol production. "For each ethanol litre produced, one kg of CO2 is released in the atmosphere. We are going to take this CO2 to feed our plant," he added.

Initially, the algae-based bio-fuel facility will use five per cent of the emissions from the sugar cane ethanol process but later the proportion will be increased, Bianchini said.

According to SATís Brazilian partner Carlos Beltrao from the Group JB, the one hectare test farm will be implanted with genetically modified (GM) alage in the second half of 2013. A second similar plant is planned at the state of Espiritu Santo.

A hectare of algae is estimated to consume 5.000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

The project has yet to be approved by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency. Brazil is the world's second largest producer of bio-fuels after the United States. -- NNN-MERCOPRESS