Ontario program to boost industrial bioproduct development

By Ontario Centres of Excellence | November 25, 2015

Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Agricultural Adaptation Council are fostering innovation in the province’s growing agri-based industrial bioproducts sector.

Through the $3 million Agri-Based Industrial Bioproducts R&D Challenge launched Nov. 9, OCE and AAC will partner with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, academia and the bioproducts industry to fund approximately 10 projects. The program encourages for-profit businesses with innovative industrial bioproduct ideas to collaborate with academic research institutions to foster innovation and drive commercialization.

“We are excited to be working with all of our partners on this challenge,” says Tom Corr, president and CEO of OCE. “OCE is already working with several companies who have seen success with bioproducts and biopharmaceuticals and this challenge will help even more companies succeed.”

Agri-based industrial bioproducts are any commercial product derived from agricultural sources such as plant fibres, plant and vegetable oils, plant-based protein and sugar/starch crops.   Anticipated projects will include the development of biocomposite materials to replace petrochemical-derived plastics, renewable plant-based oils to create biobased polymers, and plant-based proteins as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics.

”The ABIB R&D Challenge will further support Ontario’s developing agri-based products industry value chains from farm field to industrial bioproducts”, says Judy Dirksen, AAC Chair. “The use and interest in agri-based products is growing, and it is imperative that the development of these innovative products and technologies continue to be supported.”

Ultimately, it is expected the resulting projects will provide significant economic benefits to Ontario in the form of jobs and prosperity through the development of the next generation of agri-based industrial bioproducts.

The province of Ontario has identified the development of bioproducts as having potential for significant economic, environmental and health benefits. Bioproducts typically come in three varieties: bioenergy (liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, and combustible biomass), biomaterials (plastic, foam, rubber) and biochemicals (lubricants, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics).

“This R&D challenge is a tremendous opportunity for Ontario. It brings together our leading research community and agricultural sector to develop and advance bold new innovation,” says Reza Moridi, Minster of Research and Innovation. “Bioproducts have the potential for significant economic, environmental and health benefits and I look forward to the positive results of this collaboration,”

The ABIB R&D Challenge is now accepting expressions of interest with applications being reviewed and approved in 2016. Further program information can be found at the OCE website