US: Duckweed + Greenhouse = Electricity

The Behrens Energy, Agriculture, and Robotics Group are hoping to put a pyramid-shaped greenhouse structure on a piece of land in Pilesgrove to create and sell electricity. Power is created through a plant that floats on water — the duckweed. Duckweed is converted into methane, which is then used for electricity. The greenhouse is self-sustaining and autonomous, CEO of B.E.A.R. Rudolph Behrens said.

“We are completely green, clean and sustainable. We consume no chemicals and produce no waste streams,” Behrens said. The duckweed — a green flowering plant grown in pondwater — goes through a process until it is turned into bio-fuel which can then be used for home heating, or in trucks and tractors.



“We use special greenhouses where we culture duckweed and six other species of plants collected and turned into methane used in a solid generator that is completely silent. We redirect the exhaust gas back into the greenhouse and the cycle continues,” Behrens explained, adding that this cycle creates steady output 12 months per year.

At this time, the company has obtained a permit to send the electricity it produces out over the regional power grid. Prior to the interconnect approval, the company also obtained an FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) license.

The facility is constructed in increments of 10 megawatts capacity at a time The systems cost about $900,000 per Megawatt of installed capacity.

Behrens said the cost will vary depending on how much site work is needed. The CEO added that at this time, it is not clear how large they are planning to make the structure.

B.E.A.R. got its duckweed start in 2008 when they made a small system in a Navaho reservation in a remote area with no powerlines, according to Behrens. They worked to run the school’s electric with duckweed after it was running on gasoline, he said.

source: nj.com


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