Canadian Biomass Magazine

U of Guelph part of Bioconversion Network

Sep. 28, 2009, Guelph, ON - The University of Guelph is now home to a $5-million federal strategic research network for bioenergy.

September 28, 2009
By Canadian Biomass

Sep. 28, 2009, Guelph, ON – The University of Guelph is now home to a $5-million federal
strategic research network for bioenergy. The Bioconversion Network will
involve researchers from five Canadian universities (University
of British Columbia
, University of Guelph, University of
, Queen’s University, and Concordia University) who will work closely with
collaborators from three federal government departments (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment Canada, and Natural Resources Canada)
and six industrial organizations (Alberta Research Council, FPInnovations, Greenfield
Ethanol, Lallemand Ethanol Technology, Sunopta, and Tembec).

The Bioconversion Network aims to develop energy-efficient, commercially viable,
and environmentally sustainable biomass conversion processes. The ultimate goal
is to produce new fuel, chemical, and energy products. Together the network partners
will work to overcome the various scientific and technical barriers that are
standing in the way of turning Canada’s forest waste residues into fuels and
chemicals. Specifically, they want to focus on methods to improve process
efficiency and lower production costs.

The Guelph-based Bioconversion Network will be led by Professor Hung Lee of the
School of Environmental Sciences. He will be the network’s co-scientific
director with Professor Jack Saddler, dean of forestry at the University of
British Columbia.

“Society has an over-reliance on petroleum, and it undermines long-term energy security
and stifles economic growth,” says Lee, a University of Guelph faculty member
since 1986. “We want to generate innovations that will benefit both the environment
and the economy, and help Canada make the transition from a petroleum-based
economy to a bio-based one.”


Gary Goodyear, minister of science and technology, officially announced the network
on September 24 on behalf of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council (NSERC). The network was among nine that were unveiled, with each
receiving about $1 million a year for five years.

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