KETCH HARBOUR, N.S. — At a federal lab here on the windy shores of Nova Scotia, the hunt is on for super slime.
Algae plucked from creeks and ponds as far away as Alberta's oil patch and southern Ontario's industrial corridor are turning flasks of water bright green as scientists search for promising candidates.
The faster the organisms suck up carbon dioxide, the better, as John McDougall, president of the National Research Council, envisions big things for the lowly microbes.
McDougall is a long-time and unabashed promoter of using algae to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and has lobbied for years to get government to invest in a pilot project.
Now, McDougall, who was appointed president of the National Research Council in 2010, is focusing some of the council's considerable resources on making the algae grow-op a reality.
Carbon-catching algae have been chosen as one of four "flagship" projects at the council, which has of budget of almost $1 billion and 4,000 staff across Canada.
"The idea behind a flagship," said McDougall, "is to do something really important that would be substantial in scale and make a real difference to Canada if you could pull it off."
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