Portland General Electric and Columbia Energy Partners have started a pilot project to turn waste from the Boardman, Oregon power plant into valuable fuel products. The plant is the state’s only coal burning facility and also the largest emitter of carbon dioxide. A plan has been devised to use algae to convert the carbon dioxide emissions into biodiesel and ethanol.

Algae breathe in carbon dioxide to make energy and grow. The idea is to feed the tiny organisms a steady diet of rich CO2 and then harvest the oily byproduct of their growth to make biodiesel. The algae carcasses can be also be used to make ethanol and a type of livestock feed.

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