Transforming CO2 into green energy

carbon wells

© Thomas Veille

What if CO2 could produce green energy? That’s the goal of a solution designed by SUEZ and Fermentalg: “Carbon Wells”.

The reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases, and of CO2 in particular, is an essential upfront factor in the fight against global warming. Other downstream solutions are also being investigated, and in particular the capture and storage of carbon in artificial carbon wells.

In partnership with Fermentalg, SUEZ has designed a carbon well capable of capturing CO2 and transforming it into green energy. In concrete terms, micro algae (1) are grown in a column filled with water (2). The algae then capture the CO2 in the atmosphere by photosynthesis. They continuously multiply, forming a biomass that is regularly evacuated (3) via the sewage network to the wastewater plant (4). This highly methanogenic biomass increases the production of biogas that is recovered as biomethane.

It exists currently two pilot carbon wells. The first one is an industrial application, installed in the wastewater plant located at the SIAAP’s* site in Colombes, France. This pilot carbon well was created in 2016 and will capture one tonne of CO2 every year. It is the equivalent of one return trip between Paris and Washington by air. This CO2 will be used to produce green energy for the town’s mains gas network. The second one is an urban experimentation which was set last summer in the district of Alésia in Paris, France.

*Interdepartemental Syndicate for Sanitation of Greater Paris
This article was published in the fourth issue of open_resource magazine: “The circular economy era


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