Liverpool John Lennon Airport to trial carbon capture technology that creates biofuel for ground vehicle use
Mon 15 Dec 2008 – UK-based start-up Origo Industries has signed an agreement with Liverpool John Lennon Airport to trial a programme in which its Ecobox system will be used to capture CO2 emissions from within the terminal building and recycle them through a photo-bioreactor (PBR) to create an algae-based biofuel to power some of the airport’s ground vehicles and potentially generate electricity. Installation begins in January and Origo hopes the system will provide up to 250 litres of biofuel a day when operations start next summer.
The PBR, provided by Origo, will be connected to the airport’s air handling unit outlets located on the roof of the terminal building. The CO2 from the units is filtered through the Ecobox into the PBR, from where it is captured and recycled into biofuel, which will then be used to help power the airport’s diesel vehicles or used to power generators to charge electric vehicles. Beyond this, the biomass remaining from the process will be passed through a further drying process and fed through a burner, to be used, says Origo, to supply much of the airport’s heating and hot water needs.
If the trial proves successful, a larger system could be installed that could potentially generate as much as 3,000 litres of biofuel every day. The costs of the trial have not been disclosed but Origo claims the initial investment could be repaid within a year.
“Liverpool John Lennon is committed to being at the forefront of technology and to reducing the environmental impact of air travel wherever practical,” comments Andrew Dutton, the airport’s Head of Environment. “We are extremely interested in both current and potential future technical options and initiatives that could help to mitigate our environmental impact. Origo’s carbon capture and recycling technology is potentially a huge step in the right direction for the airport and the environment.”
Origo’s CEO and founder, Ian Houston, says: “The project at the airport is an early trial of a system which we believe could have a significant impact on the way companies today can obtain fuel and manage carbon emissions. If it works there, then why not anywhere? Forward thinking companies like John Lennon Airport realize that mitigating an environmental impact and saving money can go hand in hand.”
The two companies hope that in the future they may be able to work together to produce aviation-grade biofuel from the process and to install more Ecoboxes to capture atmospheric carbon outside of the terminal.
The agreement received the support of The Mersey Partnership, which is tasked with attracting new investment and developing tourism to the city and the local region.
Earlier this year, the airport installed two 15m-high 6kW wind turbines at the entrance to the airport to help generate electricity for the airport (see story).