December 13, 2016 - ICFAR welcomes the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science to a well-attended meeting, Conversion of Biomass and Residues into Marketable Products, at West Haven Golf & Country Club.

Mon, 01/23/2017

From ORF Success to Launch of Waste to Resource Successor

In 2009, thanks to the generous support from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (at that time, MRI), the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR), a research facility associated with Western University, opened its doors.  ICFAR is a facility that bridges university bench-top research with large-scale industrial applications.  We bring together experts from academia, government and industry to collectively accelerate innovation, in an effort to enhance Ontario and Canada’s efforts towards a profitable and sustainable future. 

One of ICFAR’s earlier initiatives was the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) project, Conversion of Forestry Biomass and Residues into Marketable Products.  After 5 years, this project concluded in December 2016.  We were proud to showcase the ORF and the considerable research success stories that arose because of the ORF funding, at a December 13, 2016 one-day Annual General Meeting, in London ON.  As we were celebrating the success of this ORF, we also took the opportunity to launch a successor initiative, expanding the research and commercialization opportunities to include not only forestry, but also the agriculture, municipal and industrial sectors.  In partnership with the City of London and with the endorsement of many companies, we introduced a large Waste-to-Resource initiative.  

They event was hosted by ICFAR’s Director (General), Franco Berruti.  In attendance were over 90 individuals from across Southwestern Ontario, representing academia (professors, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows), industry and government.  Minister Reza Moridi, Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, delivered an inspiring keynote address.  John Schmidt, Manager, University Partnerships and Research Planning Pulp, Paper and Bioproducts with FPInnovations, and Katherine Albion, Director, Bowman Centre, Sarnia Lambton Research Park’s Bioindustrial Innovation Canada represented two of the industry partners associated with the ORF, and spoke to the Impact of the Academic-Industry ORF Partnership.  Chemical & Biochemical Engineering professors Charles Xu, Franco Berruti and Paul Charpentier, highlighted the major ORF achievements.  In the afternoon, following Minister Moridi, the attention shifted towards the future, with the Introduction of the Waste to Resource Innovation project.  Jay Stanford, Director, Environment, Fleet and Solid Waste (City of London), introduced the anticipated London Waste to Resources Innovation Centre, in which Western University’s ICFAR would be a major partner.  George Lazarovits, Research Director, A&L Biologicals, explained the Value of Organic Co-Products, while Paul Franch, Founder and President of DiNon Financial Group addressed his interest in the Waste to Resource initiative, and the formation of spin-off company Bio-TechFar.  Jack Johnson and Padraic Foley, of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), respectively, addressed government funding opportunities, including industry-government matching programs in support of academic research.  The meeting was followed by a tour of ICFAR.

It was a very exciting day.  Participants travelled from various locations in Southwestern Ontario, on a snowy January day, to attend and feedback has been outstanding.  A few days following the meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources/University of Western Ontario and the Corporation of the City of London was introduced to Municipal Council, who in turn, authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute this MOU.  In addition, plans are underway now for a one-day workshop to develop concrete strategies to forward the Waste to Resource initiative, to be held later this winter.

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22312 Wonderland Rd. North RR#3, Ilderton, Ontario, Canada N0M 2A0