EDMONTON, AB-Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio), a board-governed agency funded by the Government of Alberta, has approved nearly $13 million in funding for 61 projects by local researchers and companies.
The grants, provided under the Alberta Bio Future research and innovation program, will go towards the development of new industrial bioproducts and technologies that use Alberta agriculture and forestry byproducts or other biomass.
“The economy of the next 30 years is going to be very different than the economy of the past 30 years, and Alberta’s innovators are leading the way in finding solutions to future challenges and capitalizing on future opportunities,” said Alberta Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous. “Using renewable materials in fascinating new ways, they are helping to diversify our economy and keep our province competitive.”
The approved projects span the research and innovation continuum from early applied research to commercialization. In addition to AI Bio funding, 25 projects are also backed by industry funding.
“The projects were carefully chosen in a rigorous, competitive process, based on criteria designed to maximize public benefit and advance the bioindustrial sector in Alberta,” said Steve Price, CEO of AI Bio. “Alberta is blessed with abundant biomass in our forests and crops, advanced infrastructure and universities, and highly qualified personnel in our academic community and bioindustrial sector. AI Bio works as a catalyst to bring these together to accelerate growth in an area with great potential.”
The researchers and companies carrying out the projects are using a variety of biomass types to develop or produce advanced biomaterials, biofuels, biochemicals or biocomposites for a broad range of applications. Examples include biofuels for transport and bioproducts that can be used in the energy, construction, forestry or manufacturing sectors. The full list of projects can be seen here.
Numerous projects involve cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) for construction, manufacturing or medical applications. Alberta has one of only a number of facilities in the world capable of producing high-quality CNC, a high-performing, advanced biomaterial derived from cellulose (a compound in plants). The CNC research and innovation pilot plant is located at Alberta Innovates Technology Futures in Edmonton.