The T.B. Simon Power Plant at MSU

Michigan State University and California-based PHYCO2, a company that focuses on algae growth and CO2 sequestration, are now using wastewater from breweries to produce algae as part of their ongoing partnership to generate clean energy sources. The production employs PHYCO2’s carbon dioxide-capturing technology for their algae photobioreactor (APB).

This is the fourth phase of the multi-year trial. In previous phases, the bioreactor absorbed CO2 emissions directly from a power plant, creating high-density pure microalgae cultivations.

Currently the bioreactor grows pure microalgae from the nitrates and phosphates found in wastewater from distillation and fermentation manufacturing plants such as breweries and wineries.

“The PHYCO2 APB and test program worked well with our plant operations and we were very pleased with the results that used the CO2 from our plant exhaust to grow algae,” said Dan Bollman, MSU associate vice president for infrastructure planning and facilities.

“The ability to also treat wastewater,” he said, “opens a new area of research and development that is consistent with the university goals of sustainability and implementation of green technologies in our campus programs.”

Located in MSU’s T.B. Simon Power Plant, the bioreactor allows pure microalgae to grow indoors, 24 hours a day, in any (simulated) geographic location and at any time of the year.

The treated wastewater from the breweries can also be re-used in the brewery operations. “Wastewater is a major concern for manufacturers, our governments and everyday citizens,” said William Clary, chief executive officer of PHYCO2. “This new technology allows manufacturers to tackle this issue head on.”