Government of Canada investing in technology to reduce GHG emissions in the oil sands

Innovative new technology will convert industrial GHG emissions into commercial products

The Government of Canada today announced that an innovative new technology will reduce industrial GHG emissions by converting CO2 into commercial products. This joint project between the National Research Council of Canada and industry partners has the potential to revolutionize how industrial carbon emissions in the oil sands and in other industrial facilities are managed.

The three-year project will use algae to recycle industrial carbon dioxide emissions from an oil sands facility into commercial products like biofuels. The Algal Carbon Conversion Pilot Project, a partnership among the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural) and Pond Biofuels, will result in the construction of a unique, $19 million facility in Alberta.

“This discovery has tremendous potential to benefit our environment and our economy, and further establish Canada as a leader in managing CO2 emissions,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “What the results of this project could mean for the future of the oil sands and Canadian businesses makes this a significant day for Canada.”

In the coming months, a demonstration-scale algal biorefinery will be established at Canadian Natural’s Primrose South oil sands site, near Bonnyville, Alberta. This facility will recycle industrial emissions from their oil sands facility by using carbon dioxide to grow algal biomass, which will undergo further processing into products, such as biofuels, livestock feed and fertilizer.

“Canadian Natural, one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in Canada, is very pleased to partner with the National Research Council and Pond Biofuels on a project that will lessen our carbon footprint,” said Steve Laut, President of Canadian Natural. “We are continuously reviewing technologies that offer improved environmental performance in our operations.”

The ultimate goal of the project is to test the viability and feasibility of this technology on a large scale. If proven successful, it can then be used as a model for recycling industrial emissions in the oil sands, and in industries across Canada and around the world.

“As a rapidly growing Canadian company, Pond Biofuels is very excited to partner with the National Research Council of Canada and Canadian Natural on this project in the Canadian Oil Sands,” said Steven Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Pond Biofuels. “This partnership, along with our current work with the cement and steel industrial sectors to implement algae technology is an enormous step forward and establishes Canada as the world leader in the field of carbon capture and recycling.”

On May 7th, the Government of Canada announced the refocused NRC and outlined how its new structure will be more beneficial to business. The National Research Council will work with industry to bridge technology gaps, helping build a more innovative Canadian economy. The Algal Carbon Conversion project is an example of the kind of research and technology development that NRC will pursue in order to benefit industry and contribute to a stronger and more prosperous Canada.

The National Research Council of Canada is a research and technology organization focused on real-world applications and on the needs of Canadian business, contributing to a stronger and more prosperous Canada. NRC provides Canadian industry with access to the strategic research and development, technical services and specialized scientific infrastructure it needs to excel on the global stage.

Source: National Research Council of Canada (NRC), 2013-05-10.