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Canada backs demonstration-scale algal biorefinery project in the oil sands; Algal Carbon Conversion

The Government of Canada is supporting a three-year project that will result in the construction of a $19-million, demonstration-scale facility in Alberta that will use algae to recycle industrial carbon dioxide emissions from an oil sands facility into commercial products such as biofuels. The Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) Pilot Project is a partnership among the National Research Council of Canada (NRC); Canadian Natural Resources Limited, one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in Canada; and Pond Biofuels.

The demonstration-scale algal biorefinery will be established at Canadian Natural’s Primrose South oil sands site, near Bonnyville, Alberta. The demonstration facility will be integrated into the Canadian Natural’s operations with direct access to industrial flue gas emissions, wastewater and waste heat.

The biorefinery will test and evaluate the scalability and cost effectiveness of current algal cultivation technologies for potential commercial deployment. The algal biomass will then undergo further processing into products, such as biofuels, livestock feed and fertilizer.

Four additional R&D streams have been designed to support the pilot project and future commercial deployment of the technology. Each stream is designed to address an economic or a technical challenge related to commercial deployment of the technology.

  • Algae: Identification of most appropriate algae strains for industrial deployment

  • Photobioreactors & Light: Greater productivity and reduced costs for photobioreactors

  • Harvesting and Dewatering: Reduced energy costs for processing algal biomass

  • Additional Value Streams: High-value, sustainable products from algal biomass

The ultimate goal of the project is to test the viability and feasibility of this technology on a large scale. If proven successful, it can then be used as a model for recycling industrial emissions in the oil sands as well as in other industries across Canada and globally.

Pond Biofuels’ validation facility at St Marys Cement kiln in Ontario. Click to enlarge.

Pond Biofuels, founded in 2007, has designed, constructed, and is operating a large scale process validation facility, using CO2 from the raw flue gas from Votorantim St. Marys Cement’s kiln in Ontario to grow algae.

The company selected its initial algae strains based on a combination of robust growth rates and reliability for use in southern Ontario environmental conditions. It says that its system can accommodate any advances in algae technology, new strains, genetically modified organisms, changes to salt-water media, or any other improvements.

As a rapidly growing Canadian company, Pond Biofuels is very excited to partner with the National Research Council of Canada and Canadian Natural on this project in the Canadian Oil Sands. This partnership, along with our current work with the cement and steel industrial sectors to implement algae technology is an enormous step forward and establishes Canada as the world leader in the field of carbon capture and recycling.

—Steven Martin, CEO of Pond Biofuels

On 7 May, the Government of Canada announced a refocused NRC and outlined how its new structure will be more beneficial to business. The National Research Council will work with industry to bridge technology gaps, helping build a more innovative Canadian economy. The Algal Carbon Conversion project is an example of the kind of research and technology development that NRC will pursue.



This is quite literally a green wash. The problems with the oil sands go way beyond CO2 emissions. Want a Reality Check?


Is there someone selling actually biofuel made from green algae farming?


Why should rare public $$$$ be used to clean up Tar Sands growing mess? Pollution creators should pay? We are using 100% Hydro & Wind but have to pay 23% of this CO2-Tar Sands clean up cost + many other $$B given to Oil Sands extraction?

The final clean up cost may be over $XT. The direct polluters will, in due time, vanish, run away or declare a timely bankruptcy. There are a few thousand examples worldwide. Baku City has to expand (East) toward the receding sea because the Oil Industry has left a highly polluted 'no man land' for many Km in the other three directions, where nothing grows and nobody dares to build.


If they used CO2 from ethanol plants for algae or synthetic fuels, I would say they have something.


The idea may be excellent but the payer(s) is not the right one.


For obscure reasons, the Fed financially supports and has supported Oil + SG/NG + Nuclear at the rate of many $$$B but does not and did not support Hydro projects at all or no where near nor with the equivalent largess.

In the last 40+ years we had to invest about $130+B to build a few dozen large hydro power plants and 15,000+KM of very high voltage power lines and 60,000+ KM of lower voltage distribution lines without Fed grants. The hydro development program (+ 2,000 Wind mills + 2.5 million digital power meters) is still going on at the rate of $3B to $4B/year.

Wind power is supported (by the Fed Gov) across the nation @ 1.9 cents/kWh. A fair program.

Labrador Nfld is an exception with a $7+B Fed guarantee to build a new Hydro power plant and undersea cables to NS etc.

Ontario will soon require and ask for $100B to rehab one dozen+ old Candu Nuclear power plants.


A wash is right. The CO2 is captured as a by-product of refinery operations, later to be burnt as fuel. There is no carbon capture here.


Ehi guys!
What about this stuff:
What are we talking about?
Among the few years oil will be just a raw material and no longer a source of energy. Nuclear power plants will serve only to make bombs and coal plants will be industrial archaeology. The Swedish State Utility is already working for this.
Electricity for cars will be zero-emission. Renewable sources also will have serious competition. Shale-Gas Goodbye!
This is a “newclear energy” for the future..


Uh joe? Don't go there. We've had a lot of trouble with numbskulls promoting that c.o.l.d fusion crap and it leads to nothing but bans & edits.


@ ai vin
This time is an independent report made by two independent groups of scientists of two major University, who confirmed the experimental results.
It's not a joke.
Take a look at the reports and photos that are very eloquent. Unless you have prejudices..


Well, I guess you'll just have to learn for yourself. Good luck.


Well if Rossi's E-cat is not a scam the Greens will surely find a way to ban it. You can count on it.

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