Memorandum of Understanding Signed between ICFAR and Bioindustrial Innovation Centre (Sarnia)

Thu, 01/13/2011

On January 10, 2011, at the Agricultural Biorefinery Innovation Network’s ( national conference hosted in London, Ontario, the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR) and Sarnia's Bioindustrial Innovation Centre (BIC) signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding.                                                                                                                                                          

This is a natural evolution for both organizations.  Not only do BIC and ICFAR share geographic proximity, they also have common interests. The focus of BIC is (from “to help Canada become a globally recognized leader in taking sustainable feedstock, such as agricultural and forestry by-products and wastes, and turning these renewable resources into energy and value-added chemicals for use in applications ranging from construction to automotive parts.“  The aim of ICFAR, a research institute of The University of Western Ontario, is to be a leader in the development of technologies and processes for the production of chemicals and fuels from alternative resources, with an emphasis on green engineering and environmental sustainability. The goal is to quickly move research from the lab benches to large demonstration projects at ICFAR, paving the way for Ontario bio-fuel and chemical innovations to get to the global marketplace – fast. (from

The Memorandum of Understanding formalizes three areas of collaboration between ICFAR and BIC.  The parties will:

  1. enhance and promote awareness of each party’s organization to each party’s respective stakeholder groups;
  2. forward technology opportunities to each other;
  3. collaborate on commercialization of biofuels and bio-based chemicals technologies.

BIC and ICFAR have already partnered through the involvement of BIC personnel in the Agricultural Biorefinery Innovation Network, and are very excited to take this a step further. The University of Western Ontario hosts outstanding bench-top facilities, including those dedicated to an area of strategic research importance to Western: Green Technologies and Environmental Sustainability.  Supporting the vision of ICFAR founders, faculty members Cedric Briens and Franco Berruti, in 2008, Western provided property located in Middlesex County, for the construction of the 20,000 square foot ICFAR research institute, funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation.  ICFAR offers analytical lab and pilot plant facilities to host the next step beyond benchtop: larger scale projects in alternative fuel and chemical generation. 

Sarnia’s BIC, located at the Sarnia-Lambton Research Park of The University of Western Ontario, conveniently at the convergence of Ontario’s petrochemical and agricultural districts, provides the infrastructure (laboratories and pilot plants) to allow for industrial-sized testing and research, a natural progression from ICFAR.  Therefore, industries that wish to take advantage of the internationally recognized academic researchers affiliated with ICFAR, and their team including postdoctoral fellows, research engineers, graduate students, undergraduates and technicians, engaging them in innovative research relating to renewable and next generation fuels and chemicals, heavy oil conversion and related sustainable technologies, will have the opportunity to see their research grow from smaller scale right through to industrial scope, using the BIC incubator facilities.  In addition, BIC has a strong team of engineers, scientists and business personnel, offering considerable expertise in commercialization ventures.

By working together, BIC and ICFAR share the ambition to establish Canada as a global leader in the development of sustainable biorefining and biofuels industries.

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