Based in Markham, Pond Technologies designs and operate scalable bioreactors that use industrial GHG emissions and specialized growing systems to cultivate algae and other valuable biomass. We spoke to Peter Howard, VP, Project Development, to learn more about how the company is closing the carbon loop and creating wealth from waste.
Describe your core technology. What makes your solution different than anything else on the market? How is your company contributing to a cleaner, greener future?
Pond takes the greenhouse gas emissions of industrial companies and turns them into a valuable product: micro-algae. Today, algae are probably one of the most undervalued potential raw materials on the market. They can be used as sustainable ingredients in nutraceutical products, animal feed, and other products. Essentially, we are taking something that is a major problem and turning it into something with incredible value.
Other than coffee, what gets you out of bed in the morning? How does this work connect with your core beliefs and values?
I’m a believer in climate change. Working as a marine biologist in the fishing industry in Alaska in the early 2000s, I saw firsthand the ways in which climate change was affecting the northern parts of the world. For example, there were fewer cold-water species, and growing populations of warm-water species.
Even then, it was obvious that ecosystems were shifting. I decided that the world needed to take climate change seriously. I returned to school to focus on climate change and sustainable business. For a few years I consulted on sustainable business practices, and I worked with the Ontario government to help design the cap and trade system.
Nine years ago, I joined Pond’s management team. I’m hopeful that we can scale and that our solutions can have a meaningful impact on GHG emissions.
Tell us about a recent win (or wins) or your company.
Last September we signed a global partnership agreement with Livalta, an AB Agri company, to jointly commercialize algae-based animal feed ingredients from CO2 emissions. For Pond, this agreement is excellent validation of our efforts to develop the technology. Since the announcement, we’ve been working closely with Livalta to engineer and design a demonstration plant in Norfolk, UK.
We’re also looking at how using different species of algae in cattle feed can reduce methane emissions. Cattle are responsible for a large part of methane emissions globally. As well, if we include small amounts of microalgae in their feed, cows can do a better job of using the energy from the food they consume. For ranchers, this means their operations will require a lot less feed.
We’re excited to explore these applications because they have incredible potential to greatly reduce emissions.
What’s next for your company?
We’ll be announcing some exciting new projects in the coming months. We’re also looking forward to following the AB Agri project as the demonstration plant begins operations and we start to develop commercial products.
Finally, what’s on your team’s wish list for Ontario’s cleantech sector?
I think some of the larger companies in Ontario need to get more involved with buying and deploying homegrown technologies. We have some wonderful industrial partners, such as St. Marys Cement, that are keen adopters of new solutions, but many are slow to take action. I’d like to see a more concerted effort to support made-in-Ontario solutions and apply them onsite.
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