Supporting work in bio-products, mine water management, environmental remediation, renewable energy, and green mining, the Verschuren Centre researchers are pursuing projects in a number of areas.

B. W. BioEnergy Inc. and CBU Awarded ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund to Demonstrate Green Energy Technology

BioEnergy Inc., in partnership with Cape Breton University’s Verschuren Centre and Target Hydraulics and Machine Works, was awarded an Atlantic Innovation Fund investment on March 20, 2011, valued at $1.7 million over a 3-year period, from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). With this investment, BioEnergy Inc. will construct, test, and commercialize Torrefaction technology, enabling the development of high-value fuels and carbon-based products.

BW BioEnergy Inc.

Willow Energy Crops

Willow July 2013

CBU Willow Plot – July 2013

Three Hybrid-willow energy crop demonstration plots were established in June 2010 on a remediated mine site in Broughton, a former farmland at Cape Breton University (CBU) and on the Point Edward Farm.  An additional (fourth) site was added in June 2011 on marginal, but well prepared farm land in Millville.  The Verschuren Centre partnered with Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC)  on this project to research the potential use of hybrid-willow as a renewable energy source and a commercial enhancement to Cape Breton’s agriculture and forestry sectors.

Awaiting Harvest

Awaiting Harvest

The project will determine the production costs and yield of multiple varieties of hybrid-willow grown on available marginal and underutilized lands. It uses hybrid-varieties of willow, a shrub commonly found in our region that may be harvested on a three-year rotation.  This research, development and demonstration project will establish an expectation for production and develop best practices and procedures for local growers.

Three of the plots were harvested in the early spring 2014 and the expansion plot harvest completed in October 2014.   A final report was produced in 2015.

Willow Report 2011

ARC 2012 Willow Presentation

Willow Report Final 2015

Unama’ki Economic Benefits Office Partnership

In January 2011, Cape Breton University’s Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment (Verschuren Centre) partnered with Unama’ki Economic Benefits Office (UEBO) to collaborate on research and development of economic opportunities in the area of energy and environmental sustainability and the engagement of local Aboriginals in these research and development efforts. In an effort to advance the Verschuren Centre’s research and development agenda, the partnership will allow for the transfer of critical research and skill sets to the Unama’ki communities and investigate opportunities for industry and business development, technology commercialization, and training.

David & Stan 1The partnership reached a successful conclusion with a Unima’ki Energy Efficiency and Conservation pilot project, initiated at the Verschuren Centre, being adopted for further distribution throughout the 13 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia.  Through community engagement, the program helps to identify ways of reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency and conservation promotion, education, and housing retrofits and upgrades.

Irving Shipbuilding Awards

In May 2011, CBU proudly announced and signed a $500,000 gift agreement with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in support of Aboriginal student awards. The Irving Shipbuilding Awards will be available to Aboriginal undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing studies in environmental remediation and management. Three scholarships and two bursaries will be created as a result of this gift and presented annually in the amount of $5,000 each.


Ongoing/Developing Projects

  • CBU Energy Self-Sufficient Campus (COMFITs)
  • BioEnergy Crops (Willow; Agricultural Wastes)
  • Seasonal Solar Thermal Storage for Northern Facilities
  • Forestry Integrated Biorefinery (Lignin to activated carbon)
  • Vegetation Management Wastes to Wood Pellet Market
  • Fisheries Wastes to Animal feeds
  • MSW Incinerator Rare Earth Mineral Recovery
  • Renewable Hydrogen Generation from Wind Power
  • Large-Scale Energy Storage
  • NS Hydraulic Fracturing Independent Review
  • Renewable Power for Remote Communities, Resource Extractors and Telecommunications
  • Coal fly-ash detoxification for Agri-soil neutralization 
  • Solar Tech for Remote Industrial/Food and Water Safety
  • Seaweed to activated carbon for land-based fish farms
  • Value add mine water
  • Optimizing Passive Water Treatment
  • Long-term Cap Integrity
  • FEFLOW Software Redesign & Training
  • GIS Forest Road Optimization