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Hello BEST members,

 
On June 2nd the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) proposed a rule with the goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions fromexisting coal plants by 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 emission levels.The EPA have targeted existing coal plants as they are currently the largestcontributor of CO2 emissions in the country, accounting for 38% ofthe nation’s emissions. The proposal is planned to be finalized sometime in themiddle of next year. The proposal will give states emission targets to meet byupgrading plants, switching from coal to natural gas, or by improving energyefficiency or promoting renewable energy. 
 
One way to achieve emissions reductions and renewable energypromotion is through the use of algae. In order for algae to grow they musthave a carbon source. Most types of algae prefer to sequester atmosphericcarbon dioxide as their carbon source. With this knowledge a system could beengineered to grow algae off of the CO2 in the flue gasses that areproduced by these coal power plants. By allowing algae to grow off of the CO2in the flue gasses that would otherwise be let off into the atmosphere, coalpower plants can serve two purposes; not only can algae reduce emissionsthrough the biofixation of CO2 but the algae can then be harvestedand converted into biofuel. This extremely sustainable system would recyclewaste CO2 and create renewable energy. I look forward to seeingprogress as utility companies consider the possibility of coal plant-algaesystems. 
 

 
Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson. “Everything youneed to know about the EPA’s proposed rule on coal plants” June 2. Washington Post.http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/epa-will-propose-a-rule-to-cut-emissions-from-existing-coal-plants-by-up-to-30-percent/2014/06/02/f37f0a10-e81d-11e3-afc6-a1dd9407abcf_story.html
 

 
Thanks for reading, 
 
Brett NelsonUniversity Scholar – CALSBioEnergy and Sustainable Technology LabSoil and Water Science Department
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