NRC, Pond Technologies, and St Marys Cement trial Algal Biorefinery
Industry partners leading innovation in algal carbon conversion technology
Private-public Collaboration Using ACC Technology
In 2015, NRC, Pond Technologies, and St Marys Cement, which operates as part of Votorantim Cimentos, finalized a partnership to implement an algal biorefinery at a St Marys Cement plant in Ontario. The Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) algal biorefinery will leverage a 25,000 L photobioreactor operating within a pilot scale algal biorefinery to recycle CO2 emissions emanating from the plant’s operations by incorporating them into algal biomass. Pond Technologies will supply the photobioreactor and supporting structures, equipment, and personnel. NRC will contribute its extensive expertise in microalgae biology, cultivation, and bioprocessing, as well as provide selected algae strains to the project and on-site resources to manage and operate the pilot biorefinery. This joint initiative will enable government and industry partners to positively impact the environment and economy.
Pond Technologies and St Marys Cement collaborating with NRC
Pond has developed a universal algae platform that provides optimal growth conditions for virtually any algae strain. Using a variety of CO2 feedstocks, Pond has developed proprietary photobioreactors and control systems that enable production of revenue-generating algae products. For pollution abatement, Pond absorbs the CO2 contained in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of major industrial facilities to grow algae for biofuels, bioplastics, and land reclamation. For nutraceutical products, Pond uses beverage grade CO2 to grow algae for high-value food additives, such as astaxanthin, chlorella, and spirulina.
St Marys Cement is a leading provider of cementitious materials to customers in the Great Lakes region. Since 1912, St Marys Cement has contributed to the growth and prosperity of the region, providing material for infrastructure improvements and new construction, including such landmark projects as the CN Tower, Roy Thompson Hall, Maple Leaf Gardens and the Darlington Nuclear Station. Today, St Marys Cement is part of Votorantim Cimentos, one of the largest building materials providers in the world. Votorantim Cimentos operates 25 cement plants worldwide, with a combined capacity of 55.5 million metric tonnes per year. Votorantim Cimentos and St Marys Cement are committed to advancing the industry through innovation and the ongoing development of safe and sustainable practices.
NRC’s Focus on Algal Carbon Conversion
NRC’s Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) flagship program is helping to convert carbon dioxide emissions into usable algal biomass, renewable biofuels, and other value-added bio-products through integrated algal biorefineries. Recognized globally as a promising technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ACC converts industrial carbon dioxide emissions into sustainable products without displacing food crop resources. Algae biomass can be processed into oil and other valuable products, including biofuels, biomaterials, soil amendment products, and potentially, health products and animal feeds. Algal carbon conversion technology has tremendous potential to benefit our environment and our economy. The launch of the algal biorefinery is a further demonstration of our government's commitment to innovation in Canada.
National Research Council of Canada’s Economic and Environmental Efforts
NRC is demonstrating Canada’s renewed support to increase the environmental stewardship and economic benefits for Canadian emitters and establishing Canada’s leadership and industrial capacity in algal carbon conversion. NRC will contribute its extensive expertise in microalgae cultivation and bioprocessing, as well as provide on-site resources to manage and operate the pilot plant. NRC has collaborated with Pond Technologies for a number of years to advance research related to the recycling of industrial emissions in support of various industries.
Previous Announcement between CNRL, NRC, and Pond Technologies
In 2013, the National Research Council of Canada, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, and Pond Technologies announced a multi-million dollar investment to build and operate a demonstration-scale algal biorefinery facility in Alberta. While the project’s initial engineering phase was completed, the deployment strategy was restructured into a two-phased approach due to the partners’ evolving business needs. In the first stage, already underway, St Marys Cement, Pond Technologies, and NRC will deploy ACC technology at the pilot biorefinery in Ontario. CNRL will participate as an observer and will share in the learning from the activities at the St. Mary’s Cement plant and further participate in the planning and development of a later stage two deployment, anticipated for an oil sands operation.
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