ccording to MaterialDistrict.com, tests recently completed by Algaecom and Icopal, in Groningen (Netherlands), have demonstrated that algae can be grown in the waste-stream of a bitumen factory, and that these algae can then be used in the production of bitumen for roofing and other purposes.
The algae are grown using the gases from oil heaters. Warmed by the heaters, the algae consume the CO2 that is released in the factory and they double in volume every 36 to 48 hours, containing an oil that can be used as a base ingredient for bitumen production.
The installation for growing the algae consists of ten large polymer sacks that are filled with water and pointed towards the sun. Each sack is 12 m long and filled with algae monocultures. The sealed sacks, spread over a 100m2 area, ensure that no organic or inorganic contamination spoils the culture.
The two companies involved, Algaecom and Icopal, say that this procedure is absolutely unique, and that using algal biomass for the production of bitumen materials has never been tested before. They feel the potential for its use in this way is large, as bitumen products are used in the construction and transportation industries, among many others.