Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) has announced the funding for 61 projects to develop bioproducts from biomass resources. Totaling nearly $13 million, the monies will help support Alberta agriculture through the development of local feedstocks, such as forestry waste, to develop renewable products including replacements for fossil-fuel derived materials. The funds are also helping to diversify and strengthen the region’s economy.
“The economy of the next 30 years is going to be very different than the economy of the past 30 years, and Alberta’s innovators are leading the way in finding solutions to future challenges and capitalizing on future opportunities,” said Alberta Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous. “Using renewable materials in fascinating new ways, they are helping to diversify our economy and keep our province competitive.”
According to AI Bio, the approved projects span the research and innovation continuum from early applied research to commercialization. In addition to AI Bio funding, 25 projects also have industry funding. The researchers and companies selected are using various methods to and multiple biomass feedstocks to develop or produce advanced biomaterials, biofuels, biochemicals or biocomposites for a broad range of applications.
Steve Price, CEO of AI Bio noted, “The projects were carefully chosen in a rigorous, competitive process, based on criteria designed to maximize public benefit and advance the bioindustrial sector in Alberta. Alberta is blessed with abundant biomass in our forests and crops, advanced infrastructure and universities, and highly qualified personnel in our academic community and bioindustrial sector. AI Bio works as a catalyst to bring these together to accelerate growth in an area with great potential.”
Sevearl projects involve cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) for construction, manufacturing or medical applications. AI BIO says Alberta has one of only a number of facilities in the world capable of producing high-quality CNC, a high-performing, advanced biomaterial derived from cellulose, a compound in plants. The CNC research and innovation pilot plant is located at Alberta Innovates Technology Futures in Edmonton.