Finding ” the most efficient organism for the production of oil identified in the world to date” without actually searching is the good fortune of a Canadian company!
In 2005, as part of a five-year research effort, the company was screening algae samples, taken from marine environments across the Atlantic provinces of Canada, for specific nutraceutical ingredients. That is when, in one of hundreds of filmy, green test tubes and flasks, it uncovered a single-celled microorganism that produces substantial quantities of triacylglycerol oil — a base for biofuel.
“It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Ian Lucas, Ocean Nutrition Canada’s executive vice president of innovation and strategy. “We got extremely lucky. This certainly isn’t our core business, but we’ve been told by experts that this is the most efficient organism for the production of oil identified in the world to date.”
Dozens of companies and academic laboratories are pursuing the objective Ocean Nutrition Canada did not know it had — to cultivate algae, the foundation of the marine food chain, as a source of green energy.
But Ocean Nutrition Canada’s prolific grower, experts say, appears capable of producing oil at a rate 60 times greater than other types of algae being used for the generation of biofuels.