argaret Munro reports for Postmedia News that a federal lab on the windy shores of Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia, is exploring algae from creeks and ponds as far away as Alberta’s oil patch and southern Ontario’s industrial corridor in search of CO2-hungry strains.
John McDougall, president of the National Research Council, is a long-time promoter of using algae to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and has lobbied for years to get government to invest in a pilot project. Now, McDougall, who was appointed president of the National Research Council in 2010, is focusing some of the council’s considerable resources on making the algae project a reality. Carbon-catching algae have been chosen as one of four “flagship” projects at the council, which has of budget of almost $1 billion and 4,000 staff across Canada.
“CO2 is the biggest unused natural resource in Canada,” McDougall said, referring to the 690 million tons Canada pumps into the atmosphere each year. The emissions make Canadians among the highest per capita CO2 emitters on the planet.
“The benefits are potentially so enormous that it is worth spending a little money to find out,” McDougall said in a recent interview, suggesting it could take $50 to $100 million to find out if using algae is a viable way to capture carbon. He also said he expects to see “$20 to $30 million” invested soon in a demonstration project that would get Canada into the international bio-algae race.