Guelph, ON – Ontario’s University of Guelph has officially opened two new research-related centres this month. The new Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability, which opened last week, will focus on bioenergy research and the bioeconomy. The other new centre, the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, opened earlier in the month.
The Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability will have an agricultural focus, with the objectives of strengthening the agriculture sector, improving sustainability and development, increasing alternative energy and energy conservation, and leveraging education, training and research. It will include a research and demonstration facility to test new technologies.
The first project is a farm-scale biodiesel demonstration plant that is currently under construction. In June, the federal government announced it was providing more than $900,000 in the project. The funding is being provided through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program, which is delivered in Ontario by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.
The centre is also supported by the Southwestern Ontario Bio-Products Innovation Network (SOBIN), which promotes new bioproducts, fosters energy conservation and expands alternative energy sources.
Researchers at the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre will examine the use of agricultural products, turning soy, wheat, corn and other crops into everything from car parts and furniture to fuel. The greener bioproducts to substitute non-renewable materials in many manufacturing sectors, consumer goods and services. This includes turning crops into renewable biofuels to run vehicles and into resins, polymers and tough fibres for the production of biobased materials, which will reduce dependency on petroleum materials.
“Bioproducts are the wave of the future,” said Dr Amar Mohanty, the centre’s director. “Not only can they create environmentally sustainable alternatives, but they also have the potential to energize the economy.” Economic benefits range from crop diversification and increased use of marginal lands to the creation of new products and industries.”