Green Power House Opens In Columbia Falls

first_img Email Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. COLUMBIA FALLS – A large crowd gathered at the far end of the F. H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. log yard on Aug. 23 to celebrate the dedication of Algae Aqua-Culture Technology, Inc.’s new Green Power House. The completion of the biorefinery is the result of four years of work by the Whitefish-based company. Officials with AACT said the Columbia Falls unit is the prototype of a complex system it hopes will become a new standard in energy production.“I hope to see Green Power Houses built around the world in the next five years,” said Chief Operating Officer Adam De Yong. “This can create a lot of solutions for a lot of communities around the world.”The eight-sided, three-story Green Power House is part greenhouse, part biorefinery and looks a little out of place next to Stoltze’s century-old sawmill. Inside the building, carbon dioxide, water and sunlight is combined to create energy-dense algae. The algae is then pumped into bioreactors where methane and hydrogen gases are extracted and the leftover algae is then used to make organic soil. According to AACT president Michael Smith, the company has spent more than a $1 million to get the entire project off the ground. Currently, the facility is run on propane, but eventually it will run on biomass from sawmills and forests, including burned and insect-damaged timber. That is why the new facility is located at Stoltze. De Yong said part of the Organic Carbon Engine is completed but the company needs approximately $750,000 to finish it. He said once the funding is secured, the engine could be finished in two to three months. Smith’s background is in physics and before taking on this project four years ago, he helped design video games. “It feels wonderful to be at this stage,” he said. “There were times when I thought we wouldn’t make it.” Now that the plant is up and running, it can constantly provide 250 kilowatts or six megawatts a day. That is enough energy to power 100 homes. De Yong envisions numerous markets for the technology, including selling the Green Power House as a kit to companies, especially those in forestry and agriculture. Another opportunity would be teaming up with communities to build the power house and use it to power entire neighborhoods. For more information about the project, visit www.algaeaqua.com.last_img read more