Rock to Road

NRC showcases first algal biorefinery project in St. Marys

November 18, 2016  By Maria Church

The National Research Council of Canada, along with Pond Technologies and Votorantim Cimentos' St Marys Cement, showcased the capabilities of the Algal Carbon Conversion demonstration project in St. Marys. CNW Group/National Research Council Canada

Nov. 18, 2016 – Canada’s first algal biorefinery demonstration project that is designed to rapidly recycle carbon dioxide and other airborne industrial emissions into biomass through photosynthesis, was recently on display in St. Marys, Ont.

The demonstration project is a collaborative research effort between the National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC) Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) program, Pond Technologies and Votorantim Cimentos’ St. Marys Cement. Project managers opened up the facility to media last week.

The project recycles carbon dioxide and other airborne industrial pollutants into algal biomass by means of a 25,000-litre photobioreactor. The biomass can be further converted into renewable biofuels and biomaterials.

“With the assistance of NRC’s Algal Carbon Conversion program, this technology’s tremendous potential will be unleashed in real-world applications to benefit our environment and our economy,” Roman Szumski, vice-president, Life Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, said in a news release.


Steven Martin, CEO and chief scientist for Pond Technologies, said the company is pleased to collaborate with NRC to deploy its technology.

“Pond has developed a universal Algae platform that enables the production of revenue generating algae products,” Martin said.

“For St. Marys Cement and our parent company, Votorantim Cimentos, this collaboration with Pond Technologies and the National Research Council of Canada advances our goals of product innovation and sustainable development, while strengthening our position as a leader in the building materials sector,” said Filiberto Ruiz, president and CEO of Votorantim Cimentos North America.

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