Opportunities for growing Canada’s bioeconomy
March 5, 2013
By Andrew Macklin
March 5, 2013, London, ON – Opportunities for the development biofuels and bioproducts continue to rise as countries work to reduce their carbon footprint. But according to presenters at the Canadian Biogas Conference in London, Ontario, the development of corporate partnerships are imperative for developing business models that can also be profitable.
Those business models rely on the development on industrial symbiosis according to Jim Lane, the editor of Biofuels Digest. Lane discussed how the waste stream of one company could become the feedstock of another, creating the type of mutually beneficial partnership that can help to grow the bioeconomy in this country.
He also suggested that relying on government subsidies was not the sustainable business model needed for the growth of farmers looking to grow crops for the development of bioproducts. Instead, there needs to be a focus on the diversification of product offerings by crop producers that would provide the products needed to drive the bioeconomy forward, ensuring that production is not tied to an unstable commodities market or a government subsidy that could easily disappear.
In Ontario, the financial support on ethanol manufacturing will disappear on December 31st, 2016, when the mandate of the Ontario Ethanol Growth Fund will expire. The Fund, set up to protect price fluxuations in the ethanol market, has helped to create six new ethanol-manufacturing facilities in Ontario. Those six facilities now produce over one billion litres of ethanol each year, with an expected payback of $9 billion in economic activity over the next 25 years according to the data presented by Gord Surgeoner from Ontario Agri-Food Technologies.
With an expected global energy demand increase of one-third by 2035, the presenters stressed the need for a greater increase in sustainable fuel production. While Canada currently meets its own demands for biofuels, there is ample opportunity for Canada to grow their economy by becoming a world leader in sustainable fuel production.
For a complete look at the Canadian Biogas Conference, be sure to pick up the March/April edition of Canadian Biomass magazine.
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