Canadian NRC studies algae

Canada's National Research Council is collaborating with industrial partners to commercialize technologies for algae cultivation, biomass handling, oil extraction and fuel production.

NRC is committing about $5 million through the National Bioproducts Program and the NRC Institute for Marion Biosciences. In addition, about $1.2 million will be provided in monetary and in-kind contributions through partners, according to NRC. About 30 NRC researchers will contribute to the project, centered at the Ketch Harbour Marine Research Station in Nova Scotia.

The project will use local algae and 64 species have been collected, 24 of which have been brought into cultivation and six with exceptional oil yields are being studied extensively. Research focuses now on finding the best biofuel-producing species and developing pilot plants to move studies beyond the laboratory. Preliminary work and engineering plans have been drawn up to build a 50,000-liter cultivation pilot plant at Ketch Harbour.