December 5, 2012, Hamilton, ON – A major Ontario industrial operation is making a bet that algae might solve its greenhouse gas emissions problems.
U.S. Steel Canada announced Tuesday it will partner 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.
In addition to keeping that CO2 out of the atmosphere, the algae can later be turned into biodiesel and other useful byproducts, according to the CBC.ca report.
The announcement is a major coup for Pond Biofuels, a small Canadian company that is alone in the world in operating this kind of technology using industrial emissions.
The secret to the process is the nutritional needs of the slimy plant that blooms naturally in oceans and lakes the world over: sunlight and CO2.
Any industrial smokestack in North America releases tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. For Pond, the key was to get access to one, figure out a way of punching a hole in it and attach a pipe to the hole. The idea is to divert the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and pump it into the company's algae growing tanks.
The Pond Biofuels process pumps industrial emissions through a proprietary tank that contains algae. The algae feeds on the carbon dioxide to grow while producing oxygen. The algae can later be used as a biofuel or animal feed, among other uses.
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