Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) has approved nearly $13 million ($12,708,525) in funding for 61 projects by researchers and companies. The grants are for the development of new industrial bioproducts or technologies using Alberta agriculture and forestry byproducts or other biomass. AI Bio is a board-governed agency funded by the Government of Alberta, Canada.
The funding is provided under the Alberta Bio Future research and innovation program, the province’s flagship bioindustrial initiative. It is aimed at diversifying and strengthening the provincial economy by adding value to Alberta’s renewable resources.
The approved projects span the research and innovation continuum from early applied research to commercialization. In addition to AI Bio funding, 25 projects also have industry funding.
The researchers and companies carrying out the projects are using a variety of biomass types to develop or produce advanced biomaterials, biofuels, biochemicals or biocomposites for a broad range of applications. Examples include biofuels for transport and bioproducts that can be used in the energy, construction, forestry or manufacturing sectors.
Numerous projects involve cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) for construction, manufacturing or medical applications. Alberta has one of only a number of facilities in the world capable of producing high-quality CNC, a high-performing, advanced biomaterial derived from cellulose (a compound in plants). The CNC research and innovation pilot plant is located at Alberta Innovates Technology Futures in Edmonton.