This project, to isolate and characterize microalgae native to Québec for possible use in biofuels production was carried out by a team composed of Professor Patrick C. Hallenbeck, Université de Montréal and Drs. Pat McGinn and Stephen O'Leary of the NRC's Algal Carbon Conversion Flagship Program (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Biodiesel production using microalgae is attractive since cultivation can be carried out using non-arable land and non-potable water with simple nutrient supply.
The production of biofuels using microalgae is promising since they intrinsically have high growth rates and algal biomass productivities are much higher than those of vascular plants. In addition, the extractable content of lipids that can be usefully converted to biodiesel, triacylglycerols (TAGs) can be much higher than that of the oil seeds now used for first generation biodiesel.
This project investigated a number of ways that this process might be adapted to local conditions prevailing in Québec including finding strains that grow well at low temperatures on waste water and showing that production could potentially be increased through the addition of waste glycerol or a hemicelluose fraction from the pulp and paper industry. In addition, strains were discovered that can use the CO2 available in flue gases or given off by the cement industry. This could set the stage for the near term commercial development of algal biofuels production in Québec.
Chercheur principal : Patrick Hallenbeck, Université de Montréal
Titre original : Sélection et caractérisation des algues du Québec avec potentiel pour la production des biocombustibles