Dec. 3 - While governments discuss new environmental policies at the Doha Climate Change Conference, private industry is also looking to the future with new technologies to produce clean, inexpensive power. American company OriginOil has joined forces with French firm Ennesys to develop a process that converts wastewater from commercial buildings into energy. Jim Drury reports.
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US company OriginOil and French firm Ennesys have joined forces to launch a unique energy-generating project. They're producing algae from wastewater in a high-rise Paris office block and turning it into energy and clean water.
The wastewater comes from the block's bathrooms, kitchens, and toilets. It's the medium in which the algae is then grown in flat panel bioreactors on the building's facade.
Ennesys CEO Pierre Tauzinat says it may just be slime to some, but to his company, algae is the future of clean, inexpensive fuel.
SOUNDBITE (English) CEO OF ENNESYS, PIERRE TAUZINAT, SAYING:
"Waste water is full of nutriments and we prepare the waste water in a way that phytoplancton, microalgae will nourish themselves, from everything that inside this waste water. At the end of the day, what we will have is two things, biomass made of the phytoplancton that has grown, in 24 to 48 hours and on the other side, you will have pure water ."
From the biomass, fuel is extracted for use in the building.
France's sustainable energy law, the 'RT 2020', requires all major buildings to become more energy efficient by the end of the decade. OriginOil CEO, Riggs Eckelberry, says the law has given the project added momentum.
SOUNDBITE (English) ORIGIN OIL CEO, RIGGS ECKELBERRY, SAYING:
"France has a major thermoregulation that it's requiring builders to meet. So builders throughout France now have to show more energy coming out of the building that is going in, and they have to clean the sewage water. These are big challenges. Algae is the perfect solution for both generating energy and cleaning up the sewage water."
The block, based in Paris's business district La Defense, contains around 38 million square feet of office space.
The two partners believe that integrating algae production into large building complexes will help firms cut or even eliminate their emissions...while also helping them save money and water that would otherwise get poured down the drain.