Azule CEO Jose Laurentino says the company is working towards developing large-scale biodiesel refineries in Canada using the most advanced and proven next-generation technology. "Utilizing local feedstocks like animal fats, waste oils and crude vegetable oils, we are positioning to meet the Canadian mandates for biodiesel set for 2012 in a remarkably economical and environmentally friendly way." In addition to the SCA funding, Azule is currently seeking an additional $3.5 million in government funding and private equity to finance the installation and startup of its first commercial plant this year in Sarnia. Process design work is already underway.
Laurentino says Azule holds a Canadian license from the U.S. company Benefuel Inc. for Ensel, "the only commercially viable, next-generation solid catalyst biodiesel refining technology." He adds that this provides a competitive and sustainable advantage in the Canadian marketplace, and will ensure a consistently higher quality product over conventional liquid catalyst technology. "Unlike conventional biodiesel processors, we will have access to a much broader array of low-cost, renewable feedstocks. This will insulate Azule from price spikes and dependencies on food grade oils."
Laurentino says Azule's business model offers advantages in the key areas of feedstocks, logistics and technology. It allows for processing of feedstocks that other conventional processors cannot and eliminates the typical caustic by-products that would be generated by a liquid catalyst facility. In addition, the strategy of locating refineries near the source of inputs and blending creates a more efficient way of producing and consuming fuel and lowers the overall carbon footprint of fuel production. This develops regional energy independence, alleviates the dependency on foreign oil and makes use of locally available waste products and agriculture capabilities.
"With this first major project approved for funding, this is an important and exciting step for the SCA ," says President and CEO Murray McLaughlin. SCA board of directors co-chairs Steve Bolt and Bernard West serve as members of the advisory board for Azule. Other projects are currently moving through the SCA approval process.
For more information visit www.azulefuel.ca
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
Farmers – the Ultimate Entrepreneur
Helping to Commercialize New Technologies
SCA FUNDING GUIDELINES
The Sustainable Chemistry Alliance is a not-for-profit organization established in 2008 to promote growth and prosperity by fostering and supporting innovation, development, commercialization and related business activities and projects in the area of green and sustainable chemistry. A key objective is to identify green and sustainable technology projects that can be implemented and have clear potential to create jobs and economic value. The board is committed to a selection process that will help to attract and retain technology on a commercialization basis in Canada. The SCA is currently considering several projects for funding.
The BIC received seed funding through the National Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program to help innovative companies to bridge the gap between research and commercialization of industrial biotechnology in Canada.
Its funding included formation of the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. A portion of the CECR grant supports the purchase of common equipment for client use in the newly renovated labs and the pilot plant which is presently in the final stages of renovation.
The first major project funded by the SCA is Azule Fuel which now has an office at the BIC to service its new market evaluation plant for biodiesel fuel production at the nearby Lanxess site in Sarnia.
The former Dow Canada industrial R&D facility is currently being renovated for the new BIC, which was set up with $15 million in NCE funding. This new Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research resides in Building 1010 at the Research Park. It will be providing laboratory and pilot plant space for scale-up of new technologies, assistance in getting funding for new ventures, access to business advisors, and connection to the large pool of technical research at the University of Western Ontario.
The majority of the funding for the renovation has come from Ontario’s Ministry of Innovation through a $10 million grant, which is supporting a complete overhaul of existing building 1010’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning, the pilot plant and labs, and partially supporting construction of a new Building 1050 at the Park.
The SCA is pleased not only to be a tenant in the park but also with the ongoing support of Research Park staff led by Managing Director Don Hewson. Joel Adams, Executive Director of the London and Sarnia research parks, is a member of SCA's board of directors.
Bioindustrial Innovation Centre
The BIC is part of a nationwide network of Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). It includes six labs, eight offices for staff and tenants, pilot plant space, warehouse and loading docks. The BIC is located at the Sarnia-Lambton Campus of the University of Western Ontario Research Park.
For more information contact Don Hewson.
As we go about our business of creating new business opportunities to enhance value in agriculture and the chemical industry, we receive great gratification from knowing that we are helping to ensure a future for the agricultural sector in Canada. The sector has been and will continue to go through significant change over the next few years.
There are many factors at play:
• Aging farm population
In spite of buffeting from winds of change, the farmer stands tall. I recently heard an old song that brings back a lot of good memories of my days on the farm, but also carries a message that we need to remember and appreciate. That is a song by Murray MacLauchlan – “Dusty Old Farmer”. I am not sure the image of "straw hats and old dirty hankies mopping a face like a shoe" is right, but it is presented in the spirit of respect.
The real message lines are:
Farmers deserve our appreciation and respect. We owe them a great deal. If it weren't for their entrepreneurship, faith in a better day, risk taking every year and their constant ability to produce the base ingredients of grain - oilseeds, biomass, energy crops, livestock and poultry, and fruits and vegetables - our quality of life would be lower and much more expensive.
With the help of science, farmers have tripled the world's output over the last four decades. Twice as many people are being fed using the same farm acreage that was in place in 1960. In the next 40 years, the United Nation's projections estimate that global population will grow by 40%. That's an increase from 6.9 billion people to 8.9 billion in 2050. Feeding those people and providing for increased protein-rich diet will require food output to double or even triple.
Combine that with the bio-industrial demand for biomass, oils and fibre and you see the challenges that will be faced and overcome by Canadian and global farmers. The food supply and industrial biomass can be produced, even as we manage marginal land, repair soil, rehabilitate water supplies and restore ecosystems. How can this be done? It can be accomplished through stewardship and the use of tools of biotechnology. Whether they use biotechnology tools, conventional or organic systems, first and foremost with every farmer is environmental stewardship. They have a vested interest in ensuring quality of land, air and water - it's their future. Perhaps this awareness is what led North American farmers to accept biotechnology so fully and adapt it to their needs so quickly.
Far-sighted farmers are the reason that we at SCA are able to make excellent investments in companies like Azule, which is profiled in this issue. Azule is a company that will use plant-based oils to product products such as biodiesel. We are confident that with investments like these we are giving a little back to the men and women who work the land.
I have spent over 40 years in the agricultural industry and can honestly say that farmers are dedicated, entrepreneurial, risk-taking people. It has been and continues to be a privilege to be associated with such a group of people. Thanks to our farmers for responding to the highest calling of stewards of the land. Thanks for their efforts and commitment to provide healthy, safe and nutritious food to the world while meeting the challenges of creating a bio-industrial aspect to agriculture - biomass for bio-chemicals and bio-fuels.
The following quote is close to describing the Canadian farmer who makes choices every day: "Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself." - Robert Bennett, U.S. Senator.
Sustainable Chemistry Alliance
Comprising members from grower associations, universities, industry and governments, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies supports the continued development and adoption of new agri-food technologies in the province. OAFT`s aim is to stimulate improvements in farm and food processing and industrial sustainability, profitability, and improve Ontario's position in the agri-food sector, both nationally and internationally.
A key strategy for OAFT, is to serve as a focal point for the coordination of Ontario's drive to research, develop and commercialize new technologies in Ontario.
• Developing, supporting and coordinating research programs among Ontario institutions;
Developments such as new technology for genetic manipulation of plants and animals, the emergence of specialty products, increased fossil fuel costs, contract manufacturing and growing, changes in the trade agreements and increased international competitiveness have changed the face of agriculture worldwide.
OAFT says that although Ontario is well-positioned to take advantage of these changes to enhance its agri-food industry, efforts must be coordinated for the collective economic and social well-being of the province and its citizens. The province must move beyond traditional markets of food to new health products, industrial feedstock and fuels.
OAFT strategy includes creating a skills and expertise database of research scientists in biotechnology and bioproducts to help ensure that the best scientific expertise is used on a specific project. Maintaining this resource will also facilitate communication regarding potential research projects and focus research on relevant applications. In addition, the organization aims to help secure funding to support research and development of new technologies and find financing for companies to produce their products.
"We support the continued development and adoption of new agri-food technologies," says President Gord Surgeoner, who is an SCA director. "This helps to stimulate improvements in farm and food processing and industrial sustainability and profitability."
Surgeoner has been president of OAFT since 1999 and in 2005 was invested with the Order of Ontario in recognition of his contribution to Ontario`s agri-food sector. On joining OAFT, he succeeded Murray McLaughlin, who was OAFT`s founding president and is now president and CEO of the SCA.
For more information visit www.oaft.org