By Ellen Cools
From Nov. 4-6, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa will host the fourth annual Scaling Up Bio conference. The event aims to help develop bio-based projects from the pilot stage to full-scale commercial operations, discuss associated challenges, and more.
A sustainable bioeconomy
The theme of this year’s conference is “Delivering a Bio-Circular Economy.” Conference organizer Jeff Passmore says making the bioeconomy part of the circular economy is critical because otherwise it will not receive public, environmental and government support.
“The bioeconomy is not by definition sustainable or circular,” he explains. “We must be diligent to ensure that it is.”
This will help advance the commercial aspirations of the industrial bioeconomy, he adds. “If we are going to impress upon government that the industrial bioeconomy can help Canada achieve its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets, then we need to show up in droves to drive that point home.”
More than 45 public servants from six federal departments will be at the conference to learn how they can help support the bioeconomy from a policy and program perspective.
The event boasts more networking time this year, with longer breaks and lunch, to help facilitate discussions between government and industry.
‘The place to be’
Passmore predicts that 190 to 200 people will attend the conference. As in previous years, the event is in plenary so attendees do not have to choose among the 35 different speakers at the day-and-a-half-long conference.
But unlike last year, the opening morning will offer seven keynote speakers from the private sector, government and academia, Passmore says. Each speaker will be on stage for a half hour, ensuring time for debate and Q&A.
Also new to the conference is a ‘featured province’ – this year, it will be Nova Scotia, with speakers from Port Hawkesbury Paper, DENOVA and more.
Speakers will cover a range of topics, including attracting capital, biomass supply chain risk, commercialization pathways, managing technology performance risk, renewable fuels in the U.S. and EU, sustainable aviation fuels, and open innovation and the circular economy.
“There will be hundreds of millions of capital in the room, so if you are looking to access funding, this is the place to be,” Passmore says.
“Since this is a conference about ‘Scaling Up’ from pilot and demo to full-scale commercial and the challenges associated therewith, watch for speakers to describe how they have managed to achieve commercial scale – how they have survived, as in the case of Iogen, ‘40 years in the trenches,’” he adds.
There will also be a panel led by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), featuring speakers from Resolute Forest Products and Fortress Global Enterprises. Representatives from agencies such as SDTC and EDC, and the recently-created Invest in Canada, will also speak.
Back by popular demand, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be the keynote speaker on Day 2 of the conference.
“I can’t think of a single speaker I am not excited to hear – and they have all been asked to address how their efforts compliment, or fit into, the circular economy,” Passmore says. “I am absolutely thrilled with the program.”
Register to attend Scaling Up 2019 here.