Canada invests in biomass research cluster to grow bioeconomy

Maria Church
February 12, 2019
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Feb. 12, 2019 - The federal government is investing up to $7 million in a biomass research cluster led by the BioFuelNet Canada Network. Funding for the research cluster will include an additional $3.1 million in contributions from industry, for a total investment of $10.1 million.

The cluster's research aims to drive innovation and help improve technologies for processing agricultural biomass that can then be used as a renewable and sustainable starting material for production of cleaner bioenergy, and other bio-based products.

The focus will be on three key areas of research including:
  • Advanced technologies to boost biomass production;
  • Using biomass heat and energy to extend the greenhouse growing season in Northern Canada; and
  • Reducing production costs and expanding export markets for biomass.
McGill University is receiving up to $888,061 to fund a project that will focus on the development of biological inputs that will enhance the growth of biomass crops including switchgrass.

"Our government is proud to support innovation that will help position Canada's agricultural sector as a leader in the production of bioenergy and other bioproducts," Lawrence MacAulay , Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said in a news release. "This investment in biomass research will help farmers manage agricultural waste, reduce energy costs and environmental impacts, while creating new market opportunities for Canadian bioenergy."

Donald L. Smith, CEO of BioFuelNet Canada, said the agricultural sector has a key role to play in the full development of Canada's bioeconomy. "The potential payback of a thriving agro-bioeconomy to Canada is enormous in that it will cause meaningful reductions in Canadian greenhouse gas emissions and create new wealth and employment in the agricultural sector. The Biomass Canada cluster is focused on research that will help make this happen," he said.

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