Friday, 24 June 2011 09:41

Annual Report 2010-2011: Alberta Regional Director

Biorefining Conversions Network Hosts Successful 2010 Retreat

Under the theme “Refining Technology for Biomass Conversion: Conventional Products through

Unconventional Approaches”, the Biorefining Conversions Network (BCN) recently held their 2nd Annual Strategic Retreat at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The event, which began with an informal networking reception on Sunday November 7th, was attended by 125 delegates including senior industry representatives and government officials as well as expert researchers from Alberta, across Canada, the US, and Europe. In addition to widespread representation from the forestry, agriculture, oil and gas, and chemical manufacturing sectors, there was a notable presence of smaller renewable energy companies and technology developers. Increased participation of major forest and energy companies was a direct result of the BCN’s strategy in 2010 to engage these sectors.


Doug Horner

Stan Blade

Honorable Doug Horner delvers his welcoming address
Photo credit: Doug McFarlane

Dr. Stan Blade, CEO of Alberta
Innovates Bio Solutions, moderates the Bioenergy & Biofuels industry panel
Photo credit: Doug McFarlane

The retreat opened with an address by Alberta’s Deputy Premier, Doug Horner, who set a positive tone for the retreat as he conveyed an extremely encouraging outlook on the future of the bioindustrial sector. Minister Horner was followed by Tim Haig, CEO of BIOX Corp., who emphasized the need for policy to support and direct the development of the bioindustrial sector. Trevor Kloeck of the Alberta Biomaterials Development Center and Dr. Amit Kumar of the University of Alberta provided overviews of Alberta’s agricultural and forest biomass resources, respectively. The BCN highlighted its strong research capacity in the area of biomass conversions and showcased the initial progress of current projects within their four core research themes (i.e. Biomass pre-processing, Chemical Conversions, Biological Conversions, and Thermal Conversions). The resulting atmosphere was very enthusiastic as several companies and academics expressed interest in building partnerships with the BCN. In addition, existing relationships were bolstered. The meeting continued Tuesday with presentations from BCN researchers and Wednesday with industry panels and breakout sessions. Launched in 2009, the BCN is a University of Alberta-based research network working to support provincial research communities in the areas of biorefining and biomass conversion technologies by building strong partnerships between academia, industry and government. The BCN promotes research programs structured towards achieving commercializable outcomes under four key research themes: chemical, thermal and biological conversions and biomass pre-processing, all of which focus on production of “drop-in” chemicals and fuels compatible with both traditional and emerging industries.

For more information on the BCN please visit our website at www.bcn.ualberta.ca or contact Kelly Maher, Assistant Director at 780-492-5865 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CTBI Workshop with Potential Industry Partners, March 7, 2011, Calgary, Alberta

triticalSynthesis presentations of value proposals were developed, drawing from the most promising CTBI Network projects, and emphasizing business drivers for the triticale biorefinery. A short list of potential industry partners was identified along with key stakeholders in the overall value chain being addressed by the CTBI network, and invited to attend the CTBI workshop. The objectives of this one-day workshop were: (1) to showcase the best commercial opportunities in the CTBI network and (2) to initiate discussions with potential industry partners was divided into two main activities: synthesis presentations of value proposals from the CTBI project leads in the morning, and impromptu and scheduled meetings between CTBI members and industry participants in the afternoon. The structure of the meetings targeted identifying the industry corporate vision related to the biorefinery, as well as the main difficulties they may foresee in justifying the participation of the industry into the CTBI network. Over 20 companies attended the workshop, several of whom expressed their intention to follow further development of the future of the CTBI initiative. The success of the workshop was also reported by CTBI project leads who recognized the benefits of (1) presenting the key results of their research using a business approach, and (2) understanding the needs of the industry while interacting with them. The need for CTBI to continue to work with other similar initiatives was identified. Currently several or our researchers are exploring future partnership opportunities with industry. For further information on the network please visit www.ctbi.ca.

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Amit Kumar

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