Canadian government funds new biomass research cluster

By Erin Voegele | February 15, 2019

The government of Canada has announced it will invest up to $7 million in a new biomass research cluster. An additional $3.1 million is contributions is expected from industry, bringing the total investment to $10.1 million.

The funding will support the new Biomass Cluster under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-yea, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Led by the BioFuelNet Canada Network, the Biomass Cluster aims to drive innovation and help improve technologies for processing agricultural biomass, including waste material, which can then be used as a renewable and sustainable starting material for production of cleaner bioenergy and other biobased products. The cluster is funded through the AgriScience Program, a five-year, $338 million initiative to support leading edge discovery and applied science, and innovation driven by industry research priorities.

According to information released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the cluster will focus on three key areas of research. The first is advanced technologies to boost biomass production. The second is using biomass heat and energy to extend the greenhouse growing season in Northern Canada. The third is to reduce production costs and expanding export markets for biomass.

As part of the research cluster, McGill University will receive up to $888,061 in funding for a project that will focus on the development of biological inputs that will enhance the growth of biomass crops, including switchgrass.