Algal Carbon Conversion program
The Government of Canada is committed to addressing the issue of CO2 emissions while simultaneously generating economically and environmentally-sustainable opportunities for Canadian companies. The Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) flagship program positions Canada as a world leader in converting carbon dioxide emissions into algal biomass, renewable biofuels and other value-added products through integrated algal biorefineries.
The ACC program addresses a number of factors which influence the commercial potential of ACC technology, including identifying the most appropriate algae strains for industrial deployment, increasing the productivity and reducing energy costs of photobioreactors, identifying ways to reduce energy costs for processing algal biomass and assisting in the development of high-value, sustainable products from algal biomass. The full impacts of this initiative are projected to lead the deployment of enough algal biorefinery facilities to divert up to 20% of Canadian carbon dioxide emissions from large final emitters by 2060.
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The primary objective of the ACC Flagship is for NRC and its partners to establish a pilot‑scale algal biorefinery at an industrial site. This demonstration facility will be integrated into the industry's operations, with direct access to industrial flue gas emissions, wastewater and waste heat, and will be used to test and evaluate the scalability and cost‑effectiveness of current algal cultivation technologies for potential commercial deployment.
NRC has already engaged a number of partners for the ACC demonstration facility, and is currently seeking partners for four additional R&D streams designed to support the flagship initiative. New partners could include Canadian stakeholders, ranging from large final emitters (LFEs) to small companies providing dedicated solutions throughout the value chain. NRC is also interested in partnering with international companies that possess innovative technologies and essential expertise, and are well positioned to contribute to Canada's algal and environmental initiatives.
NRC partners will benefit from a strong core of algal knowledge and capabilities, as well as a comprehensive breadth of expertise in marine biosciences, biotechnology and plant biology, leveraged by close links with industry. As the flagship's four R&D streams evolve, partners will have the opportunity to explore many other uses and developments of algae for a variety of commercially viable applications.
The full impacts of this initiative are projected to lead to the deployment of enough algal biorefinery facilities to divert up to 20% of Canadian carbon dioxide emissions from large final emitters (LFEs) by 2060.
Overall, the ACC Flagship will stimulate the development of innovative technologies, and provide novel products and services to establish, construct and sustain the biorefinery infrastructure and its associated value streams. The biorefinery demonstration facility will grow algal biomass while remediating wastewater and recycling industrial CO2 emissions. The algal biomass will further be processed into high‑value products, ranging from renewable biofuels, to soil amendment products, animal feed and specialized bioactive products for health and agricultural markets.
In addition to the industrial biorefinery, NRC's flagship initiative features four R&D streams that support the pilot project, as well as future commercial deployment of the technology. The streams are as follows:
- Algae: Identifying the most appropriate algae strains for deployment and the optimal conditions for their growth.
- PBR & Light: Improving algal productivity and minimizing operating costs for photobioreactors.
- Harvesting and Dewatering: Reducing costs for processing algal biomass.
- Additional Value Streams: Creating high‑value, sustainable products from algal biomass.
If you're interested in sustainably managing CO2 emissions, expanding your network or knowledge base, accessing our advanced scientific infrastructure or connecting with our experts, contact:
Stephen O'Leary, PhD, Director, Algal Carbon Conversion
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