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  • AAFC-NRCan-NRC National Bioproducts ProgramAlgal Biofuels Initiative

    AAFC-NRCan-NRC National Bioproducts ProgramAlgal Biofuels Initiative

    2010 Nova Scotia Energy Research & Development Forum

    Project Co-Leads: Stephen OLeary and Ed HoganScientific Leader: Patrick McGinnProject Manager: Leah Knickle

  • The AAFC-NRCan-NRC National Bioproducts Program (NBP)


    Multiparty R&D Initiatives that address Canadian priorities in: Sustainable energy Environment Rural revitalization

    Provide the means through which stakeholders from government, industry, and academia can be brought together to garner the critical mass required to tackle large projects requiring multiple areas of expertise

  • NBP Algal Biofuels InitiativeObjectives:

    To develop and support Canadian industries focused on the production of renewable fuels from microalgae biomass for electricity generation, land transportation and aerospace applications.

    Cost effective and competitive

    Net positive impact on the environment and sustainable energy Contribute to the economic well being of Canadas energy sector

  • CO2


    Light (400 700 nm)

    RC CH2O




    Lipids(plant oils)

    Oil production from microalgae

    Average algal cell (50% carbon), 1 g of algae = 1.83 g CO2 fixed

  • The Whys: Why Biofuelsand Why Algae ?

    Diminishing reserves of fossil fuels increasingly expensive commodity

  • The Whys: Why Biofuelsand Why Algae ?

    Biofuels should be carbon neutral and renewable address environmental concerns regarding GHG emissions

  • The Whys: Why Biofuelsand Why Algae ?

    Growth in seawater, wastewater and other non-potable sourcesNutrients for growth can be supplied from waste effluents

    Mill Cove Water Treatment Facility, Photo Credit: HRM Website

  • The Whys: Why Biofuelsand Why Algae ?

    High productivity and impressive oil content

    Photo Credit: WWF

    Botryococcus braunii

  • The Whys: Why Biofuelsand Why Algae ?

    Potentially rich sources of high value, non-fuel co-products

  • How do we get from algae in a flask to algal fuel in your car (or plane, or house)?


    Significant Barriers:Identification of most appropriate strains of algaeScale up of cultivation technologies (enormously!)Development of technologies for cost effective processing of algae at industrial scalesEnsuring compatibility for end-use applications

  • Optimal Strains

    Marine focused / non-potable water

    Robust with high growth rates

    High lipid content at max growth rate

    Favourable fatty acid profiles

    Tolerance to NOx, SOx, volatile organics

    Biological capacity for CO2 capture and wastewater remediation

    Subproject 1 Screening algae for biofuels applications

    Library of strains sourced from both collections and local environments

  • Subproject 2 Development of commercial algal photobioreactortechnologies for biofuel production

    Requires Development

    Menova Energy Inc. RFP-40

    Solar Concentrating PBR:co-generation of algae,heat and power

  • FlocculationElectrocoagulationMicrobubble lifting

    FlocculationElectrocoagulationMicrobubble lifting

    PotentialFor R + D

    PotentialFor R + D

    Spray DryingWet technologies

    Spray DryingWet technologies

    Solvent-assisted millingSupercritical Fluids

    Selective membranes

    Solvent-assisted millingSupercritical Fluids

    Selective membranes

    HydrotreatmentEnzymatic Conversion

    HydrotreatmentEnzymatic Conversion


    Current SolutionsCurrent



    Organic Solvent(Bligh and Dyer)

    Organic Solvent(Bligh and Dyer)








    Conversionto Fuel

    Conversionto Fuel

    Subproject 3 Development and evaluation of processing and conversiontechnologies for the production of renewable energy from algae

  • A CollaborationThat builds upon NBP investments in algal biofuels research

    &NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) investments in the

    Gas Turbine Environmental Research Center (GTERC) &

    Alternative Fuels for Research & Development (AFFORD) Facility

    Subproject 4 Evaluation of algae-derived fuels and lubricants for the aerospace industry

    NRC Institute for Aerospace Research, Ottawa

  • Integration of Subprojects Algal Biofuels Workplan

    Protein meal



    Anaerobic Digestion

    Alcoholic Fermentation






    ProcessingAnimal FeedProtein



    CultivationBiomassFraction ApplicationConversion ProductProcessing


    Screening andOptimization



    Wastewater Flue Gas CO2

  • NRC Institutes

    Institute for Marine Biosciences (IMB)Plant Biotechnology Institute (PBI)Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI)Institute for Aerospace Research (IAR)Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology (ICPET)Institute for National Measurement Standards (INMS)

    Government of Canada Departments


    Province of Nova ScotiaDepartments of Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy

    Foreign Government

    US-DOE Office of Biomass Programs, NREL, PNNL, Sandia National Labs

    University Participants

    St. Francis Xavier University, University of New Brunswick, University of Manitoba

    Major Industrial Partners (partial list)

    Carbon2Algae Solutions - cultivation technologiesMenova Energy Inc. - cultivation technologiesOcean Nutrition Canada - biomass production and processingPOS Pilot Plant Corp. - biomass processing


  • Phase I (Underway):(1) Collect and characterize algae strains native to Canada and the US that are

    adapted to growth in northern latitudes and can utilize industrial CO2 emissions(2) Conduct robust Geographic Information System (GIS), Techno-Economic (TE),

    and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) modelling of commercial algae biofuel production in North America using measured environmental parameters and empirical data

    Canada / US joint project in algae biofuels

    A collaboration under the Clean Energy Dialogue between NBP Algal Biofuels Initiative, US-DOE - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

    Phase II (Under Development):Deployment of a demonstration-scale algae cultivation system at an industrial CO2 emitter. Preference for deployment is NS, but require a CO2 partner

  • NRC Institute for Marine BiosciencesHalifax, Nova Scotia

    NRC IMB Marine Research StationKetch Harbour, Nova Scotia

    Current Activities Within the Algal Biofuels Project

  • NRCs Brite-Box PBRs250, 500, 1000 L

    Major infrastructure designed, acquired and commissioned

    NRC project team includes:8 Research Officers2 Research Associates15 Technical Officers2 Students

    Current Activities Within the Algal Biofuels Project

  • Current Activities Within the Algal Biofuels Project

    Microalgae harvested by centrifugationin kilogram quantities for lipid profilingand related analyses

    Biomass is provided to researchcollaborators

    Bio-Fence PBR at NRC-IMB Marine Research Station

  • Using our systems to:

    Determine yields and qualities of algae biomass and extracts

    Evaluate potential for scalability of cultivation processes

    Determine Carbon and Energy balances for biomass-to-fuel conversions

    Generate empirical data needed to support the development of meaningful Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Techno-Economic (TE) assessments

    Current Activities Within the Algal Biofuels Project

  • Modified from: Trends in Biotechnology 2008 Vol. 26(3)

    Industrial CO2

    Sun Light


    Bioactive compounds

    Microalgae Biorefinery: Fuel Products and Non-fuel Co-products

    Liquid Biofuels

  • Key Contacts:

    Stephen OLeary (stephen.oleary@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca)Co-Lead Project DirectorResearch Officer, NRC Institute for Marine Biosciences

    Ed Hogan (ed.hogan@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca) Co-Lead Project DirectorBiomass Thermochemical Program Manager, CanmetENERGY, Natural Resources Canada

    Patrick McGinn (patrick.mcginn@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca)Scientific LeaderResearch Officer, NRC Institute for Marine Biosciences

    Leah Knickle (leah.knickle@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca)Project Manager, National Bioproducts Program

    AAFC-NRCan-NRC National Bioproducts ProgramTheme 4: Establishing a Canadian capacity to produce biofuels from marine algae


    Thank you for your attention