Every so often you learn about a start-up company that makes you excited about the future of the bio-tech industry. One of these is HY-TEK Bio, a small tech startup company in Maryland that has developed a unique process to remove CO2 and other pollutants from smoke stack flue stack gases using algae.
HY-TEK Bio’s patent-pending technology allows energy providers to transform fossil fuels into clean energy sources. This is accomplished by injecting the flue gas from burning fossil fuels into vertical, enclosed photo bioreactors filled with a proprietary strain of algae and waste water. The algae in the bioreactors consume the CO2 and NOx, as well as producing additional biomass algae that can be converted into products like pharmaceuticals, nutracueticals, paint and cosmetic thickeners, animal food additives and plastics that would normally be produced using petroleum.
The initial design is able to attain 85% mitigation of CO2 and nearly 100% mitigation of NOx in just 9 feet of algal culture.
“Our technology allows the use of fossil fuels as a clean energy source, “said Bob Mroz, President and CEO of HY-TEK Bio. You can use oil, natural gas, methane and even coal and biomass as an energy source, but without greenhouse gas emissions.”
“We are using your K33 30% CO2 sensors to read the percentage of CO2 in the incoming flue gas and at the top of our bioreactors. An interesting benefit of reading the CO2 levels at the top of our bioreactors is that it tells us when to add nutrient, how much nutrient to add, and how long the nutrient lasts before being consumed simply but watching the real time level of mitigation of CO2,” he added.
This new technology has been supported by the state of Maryland through several technology development grants, and the City of Baltimore has funded a demonstration project. The technology has already been verified in the lab by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, but the Baltimore City project will provide an opportunity to show the technology is ready to be used on an industrial scale by removing the CO2 and other Greenhouse Gas emissions from a 3MW Methane-fired Power Plant.
While the HY-TEK Bio technology provides the optimum environment for their algae to consume the CO2 and other pollutants from the Power Plant’s exhaust, HY-TEK Bio will be using chicken manure as their nutrient source to super-feed their algae, so the technology has the added benefit of reducing the undesirable high nutrient loading of manure runoff into the local Chesapeake Bay. The photosynthesis process will also produce oxygen which can be captured and sold as an additional revenue stream.
"Watching the CO2 is the key to control," said Mroz.