While the United States and BP are desperately trying to cap the crude oil spurting out from the BP platform in the Gulf of Mexico, Canada is preparing to set up its first major algae to oil pilot plant. $5M project (US$4.7 million), have been awarded by the Government of Canada to grow, harvest and produce algal-oil in Nova Scotia.
The new algae project brings Canada in line with other countries that are also investingating the potential of algae, these beign primarily the US, but also counties in Europe like, Spain, Italy and Germany.
The National Research Council (NRC), and the Institute of Marine Sciences are the main actors in the project and they are in a unique position because they are using local species of algae, eliminating the risk to the environment. Sixty-four species have been collected and studied so far, twenty-four of these species have been brought into cultivation and about six have exceptional oil yields.
The pilot plant which should be located in Ketch Harbour Marine Research Station and will produce 50,000 litres as well as producing valuable by-products like nutriceuticals or high protein animal feed.
Some of the companies NRC will collaborate with include
- Ocean Nutrition Canada in Halifax;
- Menova Energy Inc. of Markham, Ontario;
- POS Pilot Plant from Saskatoon;
- and the international consortium Carbon2Algae Solutions (C2A)
Tony Piccolo – Aquatic Biofuels Specialist, Rome-Italy
Picture: Courtesy of Wikipedia