National Research Council announces biofuel from algae pilot project

June 29, 2010

On June 4, 2010, the National Research Council announced a pilot project to develop a 50,000 litre cultivation plant to study the production of biofuels from algae. The plant is to be constructed at the NRC’s Marine Research Station in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia, where researchers have been growing algae for more than 50 years. The NRC’s algal biofuel initiative is notable for its use of local algae strains. These are expected to be easier to grow, since they are already adapted to the environment, and their use avoids the risks of unintended releases of foreign strains of algae.

Approximately $5 million was provided for the project by the Canadian federal government. The NRC is working on the development of algal biofuels with the United States Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, as well as a Canadian private sector partner Carbon2Algae Solutions Inc. Carbon2Algae’s longer-term plan is to produce biofuels using algal bioreactors fed in part by carbon dioxide generated by emitters such as the Albertan oil sands and coal-fired electrical generating stations. 

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