Research Council (NRC) Canada has dedicated 30
researchers and $5 million to a major research project in Halifax,
Nova Scotia in an effort to promote the production of biofuel
fuel sources like petroleum can cause air pollution, and harvesting
such fuels can lead to disasterous oil
spills, several areas around
the world are searching for alternative
energy fuels including Canada. The algal
biofuel project will look for new ways to use the
by-products of fuel production such as high-protein animal feed and
nutriceuticals, and it will reduce aviation's "carbon footprint
in anticipation of future carbon taxes."
have huge market potential," said Dr. Danial Wayner, NRC Vice
President of Physical Sciences. "Twenty-two billion gallons of
biofuel were sold in 2009. Some commentators estimate that the
biofuel industry represents a one-hundred billion dollar business
algae feeds on carbon dioxide, the NRC along with Carbon2Algae,
an algae-based CO2 solutions company, are working together to collect
carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and several other
facilities to help algae grow. The fuel produced from algae will
result in clean energy and clean air.
are several other positives associated with the algal
biofuel project such as the fact that algae does not compete
with food production and does not require agricultural land. Also, it
requires "little more than sunlight to grow" and NRC is
only using local species of algae for now to reduce any risks to the
environment. So far, the project has collected 64 species of algae
where 24 of these have been brought into cultivation and a half dozen
with exceptional oil yields are "under intensive scrutiny."
The collection is expected to expand to hundreds of species through
international collaboration with the U.S., and researchers will study
strains that are acceptable for biofuel production.
was able to fund the money for this project through the National
Bioproducts Program, which commercializes technologies that will
have a positive impact on the environment, and the NRC
Institute for Marine Biosciences, which is dedicated to finding
alternative fuel sources. In addition to the NRC's $5 million,
another $1.2 million was given by "both monetary and in-kind
contributions through industrial and organizational partners."
is collaborating with a number of industrial partners,
Nutrition Canada in Halifax, Menova
Energy Inc. of Markham, Ontario, POS
Pilot Plant from Saskatoon and the international consortium
Carbon2Algae Solutions," said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State
(Science and Technology).
firms are working closely with NRC to commercialize technologies in
areas of algae cultivation, biomass handling, oil extraction and
ultimately, fuel production."
addition, NRC is working on the project with the U.S. Department of
Energy. According to Goodyear, this collaboration represents
"concrete action on Canada's commitments in the Canada-U.S.
Clean Energy Dialogue by expanding clean energy research and
development - one of the three objectives outlined in the agreement."
project has generated one dozen jobs and is expected to create even
more once the project increases to a larger scale.