Kathryn Coyne of the University of Delaware along with her collaborator Jennifer Stewart has discovered algae which can produce carbohydrates in the presence of carbon dioxide. The algae grow rapidly on a gas mixture containing carbon dioxide and nitric oxide released from a power plant.
Coyne and her team displayed in a year-long experiment that the algae heteroshima akashiwo can tolerate the flue gas consisting of nitric oxide that was thought by scientists who conducted earlier experiments to be a killer of the algae. Furthermore, it was observed that the algae doesn’t require any more nitrogen apart from the nitric oxide to grow, which Coyne thinks would reduce the cost for raising the algae for biofuel production as the nitric oxide is found in the flue gas of the power plants.
The scientists concluded that the algae could be used to develop carbohydrates to create bioethanol as a biofuel for vehicles when grown on flue gas and be a greener alternatively to the regular fuels and also help to neutralise the effects of nitric oxide on the environment. Currently the researchers are in talks with companies to scale up the growth of the process and for further examinations of Heteroshima akashiwo.