Technology turns ag-waste into useful products
The federal government has given a University of Alberta technology an investment boost paving the way for innovative new products
Edmonton, Alta. – The federal government has invested almost $1 million in a technology that is capable of converting agricultural waste into useful commercial products.
Western Economic Diversification Canada made the announcement late last week.
The technology is called Lipid to Hydrocarbon technology and was developed by David Bressler, an associate professor in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta.
The technology can convert waste such as animal fats, vegetable oils, oil from plant algae and restaurant grease to high-value byproducts such as hydrocarbon fuels, solvents and chemicals.
These end products take the form of jet fuel, gasoline and solvents for use in the crop, oil and gas industries. One of the solvents developed in Bressler’s lab would be the first of its kind used in the cosmetics industry. A spinoff company would produce and supply these products to various industries for commercial applications.
Bressler says the project takes biodiesel to the next level. “This research is a great
example of technology that was developed from scratch at the U of A and, if successful, has a chance to make biodiesel obsolete,” he says.
Bressler’s patented conversion process results in fuels that are more environmentally friendly because they perform better, burn more cleanly and have lower emissions.
The investment will go toward establishing a pilot industrial plant at the U of A’s Agri-Food Discovery Place to further demonstrate and refine the process. The technology could lead to the establishment of an Alberta-based industrial plant and a U of A spinoff company.
A grant from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency is also helping to support the initiative.
“Today’s investment will provide the tools needed to test, demonstrate and ultimately commercialize an important Western Canadian technological achievement that will open up new commercial opportunities for our agricultural sector,” says Brian Jean, member of parliament for Fort McMurray-Athabasca, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.