The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) announced that it is making an investment into a project to build a facility in Alberta that will be capable of recycling industrial CO2 emissions into valuable biofuels.
The $19 million Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) Project will be a pilot program which NRC will be undertaking in partnership with Pond Biofuels and Canadian Natural Resources Limited.
The Honorable Gary T. Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, said that the Canadian government is pleased to partner with the private sector for this initiative that combines sustainability and profitability, and will ultimately be beneficial for both the environment and the economy.
The pilot project’s main aim is to test whether this concept of converting industrial CO2 emissions into biofuels is feasible and viable. If so, it can then be used as a model for setting up Co2 recycling plants all over Canada.
The technology seeks to imitate nature by incorporating the CO2 into algal biomass through photosynthesis, following which the algal biomass can be converted into oil, animal feed and soil amendment products, among other things.
Another advantage of this process is that it will put industrial byproducts such as wastewater and heat to good use for cultivating algae in photobioreactors. The use of enclosed photobioreactors also ensures that arable land does not have to set aside for algae farms.
It’s fitting that this pilot algal biorefinery will divert CO2 emissions from the Canadian oil sands, and make the environment cleaner while producing more oil. The pilot project will be located at Canadian Natural’s Primrose South oil sands site, which is near Bonnyville, Alberta.
Steve Laut, President of Canadian Natural, said they were pleased to partner with the NRC and Pond Biofuels in this project that will reduce their carbon footprint.
Apart from Canadian Natural, the ACC program has roped in many participants including companies classified as large final emitters (LFEs). The initiative is estimated to ultimately lead to the setup of enough algal biorefineries to divert and convert 20 percent of the CO2 emissions of all Canadian LFEs by 2060.
Steven Martin, CEO of Pond Biofuels, said they were very excited about the partnership with NRC and Canadian Natural, and noted that it would establish Canada’s status as a leader in the carbon capture and recycling field.
NRC is the Government of Canada’s foremost R&D agency, and provides private industry with access to strategic R&D, technical assistance and specialized scientific infrastructure.