Originally published as an insert in the National Post on December 18, 2018
Hungry for CO2
How one innovative Canadian company is cleaning the air and capitalizing on algae
BY KEN DONOHUE
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most abundant byproduct of our industrial world. Expelled from our factories, steel mills, and the cars we drive, it’s the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases. But imagine being able to create and harness value from it. Thanks to the intrepid minds at Pond Technologies, this is exactly what’s happening.
Pond’s proprietary platform technology capitalizes on algae’s natural appetite for CO2 by turning the harmful gas into oxygen. Untreated emissions from the smokestacks of industrial facilities including power plants, cement plants, and sugar refineries can be redirected to large tanks, called bioreactors.
“Our technology is much more than sequestration of carbon dioxide,” says Steve Martin, Pond’s CEO. “We actually convert greenhouse gases into sustainable proteins and high-value nutraceuticals, or dietary supplements, that can benefit society.”
Carbon recyclers are the future of industry
Just like trees or grasses, algae consume CO2via photosynthesis. Algae grow rapidly – up to five generations per day – and are ready for harvest after just a few days. Algae can be upgraded into value-added products, including superfoods Chlorella and Spirulina, feed for farm animals, cosmetics, and even biodegradable plastics.
Pond’s revenue-focused carbon capture technology promises immense value for current and future investors. St. Marys Cement partnered with Pond to demonstrate the technology’s capability and became an investor. “Our investors have validated us as a platform for investment,” says Martin. “We are now a publicly-listed company, and are actively commercializing two sites and looking for other opportunities.”
For green or responsible investors looking to participate in and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, the company provides a prime example of Canadian innovation poised to make a notable, global splash. Martin adds, “the market for the technology is huge — there are more than 10,000 large emitters in North America, all of them a target for Pond. Every one of them can benefit from our solution and, even better, the algae can be used to feed humanity.”
Greening Industrial Pollution
Algae has a slimy reputation. It’s often seen as a nuisance in our lakes and swimming pools as it grows rapidly when fed with a combination of light, CO2, and the right level of nutrients. It’s this natural process of proliferation that Pond Technologies has capitalized on with its carbon capture technology, proving that this slimy substance can turn waste into a valuable commodity.
One of Pond’s biggest selling points is how easily its system can be integrated into existing industrial facilities, thanks to its small footprint and scalable design. “Our facilities don’t require any changes to operations for the emitter, and they provide a diversified revenue stream,” says Nekoo Hosseini, Senior Research Scientist at Pond. “Our proprietary LED lighting system makes this carbon capture technology unique and we purposefully designed it with high levels of automation and controls backed by a machine-learning algorithm.”
A solid return on investment
Having the ability for a single-cell microorganism to turn waste — such as flue gas emissions — into clean, value-added bio-products has an air of science fiction, but with two sites moving towards commercial production in 2019, the future for this technology is very bright.
Many industries rely on fossil fuels as a source of energy for power and heat, and can thus benefit from Pond’s innovative technology including chemical production, iron, steel, and cement companies, as well as players in the utilities or food manufacturing sectors.
Industrial partners are expected to not only achieve emissions reductions but also have the potential to benefit from the revenue generated from algae-derived bio-products. US-based project financier Inventiv Capital recognized this opportunity and works with industry members and Pond to realize their emissions reduction targets.
Learn more about site assessments at your industrial facility at pondtech.com/technology.
Going Natural is Good for People, Planet, and the Bottom Line
According to Grant Smith, Vice President of Pond Naturals, over the past few years ,the food industry has grown the fastest in the vegan and natural/organic space. This creates a huge opportunity for Pond Naturals, a division of Pond Technologies, to drive the future of the nutraceutical, food, and ingredients categories.
“We can help address the global food and nutrition challenges by creating nutrient-rich supplements or high-protein feed for sustainable fish and livestock farming,” says Smith.
Growing demand for green health products
Smith adds that consumers are the obvious winner from Pond’s technology as the demand for natural health products continues. The food industry also benefits as Pond works towards establishing a reliable, unprecedented supply of green, Made-in-Canada algae products
“This is an exciting time for Canadians seeking health and wellness,” Smith says. “Our products are vegan and gluten-free, and we are working towards organic certification.”
Pond anticipates accelerated growth in its line of bio-products. Its version of Spirulina, a superfood, can soon be found in soups, smoothies, and other food products. And phycocyanin holds promise as a natural colorant in sports beverages like Gatorade or for gummy bears and candies. Pond Naturals already sells Astaxanthin, a potent algae extract, which is used in nutritional supplements and anti-aging cosmetics.
“The Pond Naturals team has extensive experience in co-developing new blends and formulations with its partners,” says Smith. “As we source or produce new all-natural ingredients, we are assisting the innovation divisions of well-known brands.”
Visit pondtech.com/algae-products for all-natural ingredients that can help fuel the innovation of your products.
Turn Back the Clock with Algae
You may not have heard of Astaxanthin (as-ta-zan-thin), a bright red compound that comes from algae, but given its health benefits, you might just want to load up on some. It’s one of the most powerful antioxidants and is the substance that gives salmon flesh that signature pink colour.
Astaxanthin prevents damage to our cells — often the cause of age-related ailments — and contributes to the health of our eyes, muscles, hearts, skin, brain, joints, and can fight off the harmful effects of inflammation. Our bodies don’t produce this wonder compound as it is generally found in food sources that consume a lot of plankton and algae including wild salmon, shrimp, krill, and lobster. Fortunately, we can get our daily dose of astaxanthin in Regenurex soft-gel capsules that wrap our cells in a protective layer.
Approved by Health Canada, Regenurex is made from a naturally-sourced strain of microalgae found in British Columbia. Its innovative and proprietary natural extraction process isn’t exposed to harsh chemicals, making it the most natural version on the market. And unlike most fish or krill oil, its sweet flavour and non-fishy aftertaste makes it easy to take.
For more information, visit regenurex.com.