U.S. Steel Canada Testing Pond Biofuels Technology
December 5, 2012
ax Paris reports for CBC News that U.S. Steel Canada is partnering with Union Gas and Pond Biofuels to test an innovative system that pulls carbon dioxide directly out of its power station’s smoke stack in Nanticoke, Ont., and pipes it to a tank that will grow algae – which might later be turned into biodiesel and other useful byproducts.
“Algae are the solution to the climate-change issue,” said Steve Martin, Pond Biofuels’ CEO. He says it’s not enough to hide carbon underground, as you would with a carbon capture and sequestration project. You need a way to fix the carbon in place. “And the only things that do it, to my knowledge, and do it easily and quickly and want to do it, are algae. Algae enjoy this. This is what its business is.”
Pond found its first algae production partner in 2009 when St. Marys Cement let Martin’s company set up a pilot project at its plant in St. Marys, Ontario. Cement manufacturing is one of the most carbon-intensive industries in the world. For every 100 tons of cement made, 83 tons of CO2 are created.
The attraction of the project for St. Marys Cement was the potential to make money from its own pollution. With the Pond Biofuels system, the end product of St. Marys massive greenhouse gas emissions is biodiesel, which, in theory, can be sold for a profit.
Martin, an optical engineer says he plans to use high-efficiency LEDs that are powered by solar energy to reduce the cost of electricity and make the operation profitable.
Pond Biofuels was founded in May 2007, with the purpose of pursuing biodiesel production from algae. The company has filed 10 patents covering its technologies and systems. Pond Biofuels is a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation, supported by investment from the government and the private sector.