Ontario-based Pond Technologies is turning CO2 into viable products

[Canada] Ontario-based Pond Technologies has spent years developing the design, manufacturing and operating protocols for an LED-illuminated photobioreactor. The photo-bioreactor is an enclosed tank containing a continuous algae bloom, where rapid algae growth converts industrial greenhouse gas emissions into algae biomass. The algae biomass is then used as feedstock for biofuels in an accelerated replication of natural carbon cycles.

Pond sparges industrial flue gas directly into large photo-bioreactors, whereupon the CO2 dissolves out of the sparging bubbles and into the aqueous growth medium. Industrial flue gas however, contains much more CO2 (five to 20 per cent by mass) than the ambient air (0.04 per cent). To make algae grow fast enough to fix that much CO2, Pond has designed the largest, most energy-efficient LEDs in the world, along with a unique passive cooling system and an associated light distribution system. As these LEDs provide the illumination to initiate and maintain rapid growth, its custom system harvests the algae as it grows, creating a continuous algae bloom.

Algae is one of the fastest-growing organisms in the world, consuming almost twice its weight in CO2, making it an ideal medium to capture carbon.

The value of algal biomass is in its conversion rate into fuel: one tonne of algae can yield 100 litres or more of diesel. The residual biomass can also be used as a renewable coal substitute.

While the technology isn’t yet commercial, in January, Pond and SNC-Lavalin entered into a strategic partnership to develop and deliver Pond’s carbon-recycling technology worldwide, and the company hopes this will speed its progress. Together, Pond and SNC-Lavalin will design, propose and construct projects using the technology.

“We believe that the pairing of Pond’s technology with SNC-Lavalin’s global engineering and project management capabilities will accelerate the deployment of our algae growing platform worldwide,” says Steve Martin, Pond’s chief executive officer and chief scientist.


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