Alberta Innovates funds Biorefining Conversions Network
October 4, 2012, Banff, AB - With funding from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, the Biorefining Conversions Network aims to become a hub for bioeconomy investments and a world class centre of excellence for biorefining and biomass conversions.
Using a Campus Alberta approach over the next three years, the network will receive $3.8 million for business development and research that turns the province's agricultural and forestry biomass into drop-in fuels and chemicals compatible with both traditional and emerging industries.
"The Biorefining Conversion Network expands Alberta's bioeconomy and will help to grow our agricultural and forest sectors in an economically and environmentally sustainable way," said Dr. Stan Blade, Chief Executive Officer of Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. "The technologies and products being developed by network researchers may offer green solutions to Alberta's energy industry and enhance rural development through new jobs and globally competitive businesses."
Led by Executive Director Dr. David Bressler, the Biorefining Conversions Network (BCN) offers partners in academia, industry and government direct access to a large pool of resources, lower research risk and opportunity for collaboration enabling multi-disciplinary and multi-sector teams focused on research themes. Based at the University of Alberta, researchers will work to develop new technologies with commercial potential to convert a variety of biomass feedstocks into high-value products like biofuels, platform chemicals, industrial solvents, and bioplastics. The biorefining conversion technologies being developed at BCN are the same in concept as the refining technologies used by traditional oil refineries and leads to hydrocarbon-like fuels and chemicals that can 'drop-in.'
Managing a $3 million investment from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions and the Alberta government over the last three years, the BCN (www.bcn.ualberta.ca) currently has a research portfolio of 17 projects across four research themes: biomass pre-processing, biological conversions, chemical conversions and thermal conversions. Several projects are nearing commercialization, with one spin-off company launched, one patent issued and a licensing agreement signed. The network has attracted large industrial partners, trained many highly qualified and skilled personnel, and published many manuscripts.
Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions is a provincial government agency that leads and coordinates science and innovation to grow prosperity in Alberta's agriculture, food and forestry sectors.