THUNDER BAY – CRIBE is providing $3 million for an innovative partnership between Lakehead University’s Biorefining Research Initiative (LU) and G2 BioChem in Chatham. G2 BioChem’s facility is the only one in the province that will allow the complete breakdown of wood fibre outside of a laboratory environment. This unique opportunity will allow Thunder Bay to be at the forefront of new uses for forest biomass.
G2 BioChem’s main focus will be on design and development of biorefinery processes, using its new $42M demonstration plant at its Center of Excellence in Chatham, Ontario. Meanwhile, LU will focus on the development of value-added chemicals from the process. Using poplar, an underutilized species, G2 BioChem will develop ways to recover hemicellulose, lignin and bark extracts. Lakehead will in turn look to developing new value-added uses from these products, such as adhesives, biochemicals, and biopharmaceuticals.
Of the total $3 million in funding CRIBE is providing $2 million to G2 BioChem in Chatham and $894,500 to Lakehead University. CRIBE’s participation in this project will give access to the full research facility and industrial expertise at Chatham to LU researchers, students and CRIBE members. Results from work at the demonstration plant will be used by CRIBE, its clients in Northern Ontario and LU researchers to develop local projects that will generate revenue and bring new jobs to northern communities.
In addition, CRIBE is also providing $150,000 to the biochar/biomass recovery project at Lakehead University. LU is partnering with Ontario Power Generation and AbitibiBowater to study possible applications for the waste “wood ash” or biochar products left over after using forest biomass to create energy, specifically as an additive to agricultural soil. This will generate cost-savings for the producers by diverting waste from landfill as well as providing a safe, low cost soil amendment for local farmers.
“I am happy to see the work of CRIBE moving forward to find ways to build new economic activity from our sustainable wood fibre,” said Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atitkokan. “This innovative approach taken by our government will most certainly lead to new jobs and investment in Northwestern Ontario to the benefit of us all.”
“This is an exciting partnership which will provide tremendous opportunity for new research and development in the field,” said Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North. “I am pleased to see CRIBE continuing to play a central role in creating jobs and spurring local investment.”
“This is an unparalleled opportunity to move the North ahead leaps and bounds in the green technology industry,” said Lorne Morrow, CEO of CRIBE. “Finding new and innovative uses for our forest products is the main reason for CRIBE’s existence and this announcement brings us closer to success than ever.”
“Lakehead University, a national leader in forestry-based research and innovation is an active partner and contributor to the Northwestern Ontario economy. Through our Biorefining Research Initiative, we are developing technology to capitalize on our region’s vast biomass supply to bring bio-based prosperity to our region and our nation,” said Dr. Rui Wang, Lakehead’s Vice President, Research, Economic Development and Innovation.
“We are most grateful to CRIBE for their generous contribution to G2 BioChem’s demonstration plant. This contribution will go a long way to unlocking the future of next generation ethanol,” said Barry Wortzman, President of G2BioChem and Vice President, Business Development, GreenField Ethanol. “G2 BioChem’s technology optimizes next-generation ethanol yields using all available sugars. Our process technology is feedstock agnostic and results in a low-cost-per-litre, which is essential to the viable commercialization of next generation ethanol.”