Large research infrastructures, a chemical and paper industry supporting a sector that is considered strategic, clusters that are able to build extended value chains, universities at the level of excellence and a federal government and provinces with a vision and an effective action plan. These are shortly all the strengths of the bioeconomy in Canada, as I saw them last week.
BioAmber Inc. filed a voluntary petition for relief under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and that its two Canadian subsidiaries, BioAmber Sarnia Inc. and BioAmber Canada Inc., filed a Notice of Intention to make a proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada), with a view to strengthening the company’s financial health and solidifying its long-term business prospects.
Comet Biorefining, the Canadian company focused on the production of high-purity cellulosic dextrose, completed a round of equity financing led by new investor PM Equity Partner. Current investor Sofinnova Partners and new investor Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) also participated in the financing, whose terms were not disclosed.
Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has launched the creation of the $27 million Centre for Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovation (COMM SCI) through a $12 Million non-repayable contribution from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s (FedDev Ontario) Investing in Regional Diversification (IRD) initiative, a $3 Million grant from the Province of Ontario and a minimum $12 Million in matching contributions from BIC and their partners.
“The government is working on a national bioeconomy strategy, which started with our new federal government attending the COPS meeting in Paris. Discussions and consultations are now taking place with the provinces and the Canadian public with the intent to have a federal strategy in draft form later this year.” To say it – in this long exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Murray McLaughlin, executive director of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, who was recognized in the top 100 global leaders in the Advanced Bioeconomy at Biofuels Digest Conference in Washington, 2016. With him we talk about bioeconomy in Canada, climate change, biomass, Green public procurement, carbon tax and other policies. Murray McLaughlin has held various positions in the private, government and non-profit sectors such as director of Business Development for the Canadian Light Source, president of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, deputy minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and president of Ag-West Biotech Inc. He co-chairs the Industrial Bioproducts Value Chain Roundtable which is a partnership between Industry and AAFC for the bioeconomy. He is a graduate of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, McGill (B. Sc. Agr.) and Cornell (MSC and PhD), and has an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Dalhousie University.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
Comet Biorefining, a leading provider of sustainable and cost-competitive cellulosic dextrose technology for applications in renewable biochemicals and biofuels, has announced the location of its commercial-scale biomass-derived sugar facility in the TransAlta Energy Park in Sarnia, Ontario. The 60 million pounds per year plant will come online in 2018, producing dextrose sugar from locally-sourced corn stover and wheat straw. Corn stover consists of residues left in the field after harvest including stalks, leaves, husks and cobs.
“Canada has a tremendous biomass base. In Alberta we have 22m+ ha of agricultural land and 35+m of forest land. We see groups coming from around the world to access our biomass”. To say it is Stan Blade, Chief Executive Officer at Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions, a research agency funded by the Government of Alberta that works with partners to identify, coordinate and fund research projects. It helps solve industry challenges with solutions that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits. In this interview with Blade we talk about the bioeconomy in Canada, with a special focus on Alberta, which is investing strongly in converting the province’s biomass resources beyond traditional commodities into higher value products. These new products increase economic returns from Alberta’s natural resources. Biomass includes agriculture and forestry fibre, by-products and other feedstocks such as livestock manure and municipal solid waste.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
The Canadian Government, led by Stephen Harper, is enabling a company to commercialize a “green” bio-plastic, using innovative technology that was developed at the University of Guelph, Member of Parliament Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent-Essex) announced yesterday, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
The Canadian government plans to end its subsidy for production of biofuels when its current program ends in 2017, a newspaper reported last Saturday. “The Globe and Mail” quoted a letter from Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver to the biofuels industry on Thursday explaining that Ottawa needed to cut spending to tame its deficit.
Oliver said that the ethanol industry now produces the necessary volume of renewable fuel for Canada to meet its target of 5 percent ethanol in the country’s gasoline supply, the newspaper reported.
But the minister also noted that the Canadian biodiesel industry had been unable to produce enough of that fuel, forcing some refiners to import to meet a 2 percent biodiesel target.
Il Canada si prepara alla sfida della bioeconomia. Nel paese nordamericano è nata BEN (BioEconomy Network), una nuova rete intersettoriale della bio-based economy, che si pone l’obiettivo di sostenere politiche mirate di carattere finanziario e ambientale in grado di capitalizzare il potenziale emergente dei prodotti bio-based nel mercato globale. In parole più chiare: BEN vuole dare impulso a un settore che già oggi in Canada vale 86,5 miliardi di euro, oltre il 7% del Prodotto interno lordo, per far crescere l’economia e creare nuovo occupazione.