Imagine a world where issues of food and water security and water could be solved by repurposing existing waste and bio-residues. The Verschuren Centre is working towards that reality. By repurposing materials that once were  considered waste, new and abundant low cost sugars, proteins, and fuels could be created to support existing economies and foster entrepreneurial development.

Beth Mason 2017
Industrial Research Fellow – Bio-products:  Dr. Beth Mason   

Goal:  Develop low-cost alternative resource techniques and processes for commercialization of renewable resources.

Canada is at the forefront of developing bio-products, and the Verschuren Centre is enabling commercialization of innovative bio-products for our industry partners.  Canada offers more biomass feedstock per capita than any other nation, including 10% of the world’s forests and abundant supplies of high-quality agricultural lands, enabling us to be the world’s sixth largest exporter of agricultural products.  With this resource, Canada has become the fourth largest ethanol producer in the world, with 1,392 million litres of ethanol fuel produced in 2010.  Competitive advantages in the bio-products industry include:  abundant resource, a strong business environment, a highly educated workforce, and world-class research and development (R&D).  The Verschuren Centre is committed to fostering growth in the bio-products industry, with collaborative industry partnerships, innovative R&D, and bio-product commercialization.

According to Cleantech Market Intelligence (2011), the global market for biofuels is forecast to increase from $82.7 billion in 2011 to $185.3 billion by 2021, while Life Sciences British Columbia (2009) state that clean energy technologies are expected to be valued at $1 trillion by 2030.  When producing biofuels, bioenergy and other biomaterials, byproducts that have traditionally been considered waste or of low-value are generated.  Through innovation, many of these waste or low-value byproducts are now being converted into value-added bio-products that in some cases are more valuable than the primary product.  According to Life Sciences British Columbia (2009), the global market for bio-products is estimated $200 billion.  A growing segment of these bio-products includes bio-chemicals, and according to Pike Research, the green chemical industry is to reach US $98.5 billion by 2020.  In 2010, Canada exported more than $4.3 billion or organic chemicals.  Bio-products represents a large and growing global market, and the Verschuren Centre is enabling our industry partners to develop great commercial products and to capitalize on this opportunity.

Research Focus
The Verschuren Centre is engaging the business community to bridge waste producers to businesses that can utilize their waste products as feedstock in their value-added bio-product development.   Our research, development, demonstration and deployment efforts are to enable bio-products commercialization and business-to-business partnerships, including:

  • Seafood waste to value added bio-products.
  • Forestry, agricultural, and pulp and paper waste to sugar, bio-fuels, plastics and feed
  • Biomass to activated carbon for water purification
  • Alternative  feedstock development for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and health supplements markets