Emma Gallagher: Earthscope reporter
Brooks Haden is the President of the U.S. Subsidiary for Solutions for CO2, an alternative energy and resource company expanding soon into the Bay Area. It has many project branches, including operations in Toronto, but all deal with using carbon dioxide sustainably and creatively on a commercial level. So what “solutions for CO2” are coming into California? The company has patented and initiated facilities for growing algae on an industrial scale, extracting omega 3 oils for supplements. These oils are substitutes for omega harvested from fish. The process uses repurposed shipping containers as bioreactors and specialized UV light to maximize growing rates. The organisms also require CO2 to fuel their metabolic process. Carbon dioxide is additionally used in a latter step, where it extracts desired oils from dried algae cakes. To supply the growing supplements industry, the algae grow in such reactors 24/7 sustainably and efficiently without outdoor variables. This procedure is a leading system for biopharming technology, holding the key to crucial future environmental innovation.
The Bay Area is a major clean-tech hotspot, so the project is both economically and environmentally appealing. The carbon dioxide used in algae production and oil extraction is recycled from industries that previously considered it waste. Anaerobic digesters use microorganisms to break down biodegradable material without oxygen. These digesters are structures used in both agriculture and sanitation industry to manage and filter wastes. Unfortunately, greenhouse gases, such as methane and CO2, are undesired byproducts… until now. Haden explains that Solutions for CO2 is working with local dairies and sanitation districts to “solve a manure problem and a waste problem, but also solve a CO2 problem as well”. Thus, using carbon dioxide from these digesters benefits the agriculture and sanitation industries, along with the environment. In addition, Solutions for CO2 will be providing high paying jobs in clean technology (more than 120,00 people are employed by green jobs in the bay area already). The company will prove to be an amazing addition to an already advanced region of clean and sustainable technology.
Beyond the Bay Area, Solutions for CO2 could prove to be a valuable company for the world. Using carbon dioxide in two critical steps of the algae omega 3 process is beneficial both globally and locally. Our world obviously has a superfluous amount of CO2, so any uses for such a greenhouse gas provide hope for an increasingly problematic environment. Solutions for CO2 is a company setting an example for sustainable resource technology. Their research has surpassed experimentation and trials. Haden explains, “It’s not just talk, it’s actually commercialization…It is beyond the talk and research stage. It is providing a product and service that will be available.” If the company proves to be successful, its sustainable techniques could provide incentive for other industries to invest in alternative technologies. The process of growing alga for omega 3 oils is not just efficient; it is profitable. Algae sources instead of fish reduce marine over-harvesting and amplify production, thus creating an economical system for a billion dollar industry. In addition, Haden projects future uses for commercial algae farming. Biofuels and alternative energies could also be harvested from the same processes with some genetic engineering and trials. Haden explains, “It is nice when we set up these warehouses and plants that they will have multiple uses down the road as technology develops.” With so much potential on the upswing, Solutions for CO2 could just be the beginning of sustainable clean-tech. Turning research into profits, this company is just another example of how green really is the new gold.