Canadian Manufacturing

Feds invest $3M in firm testing non-food crops for industrial use

Competitive Green Technologies testing purpose-grown agricultural fibres in bioplastic, biocomposite products

LEAMINGTON, Ont.—The federal government is investing as much as $3 million in an Ontario firm as it continues pilot-scale testing of non-food crops for industrial use.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the investment in Competitive Green Technologies Inc. as it continues pilot-scale testing of purpose-grown agricultural fibres and residues in bioplastic and biocomposite products.

“This investment in Competitive Green Technologies’ industry-led research project is a testimony to the government’s commitment in growing the rural economy of Canada, creating skilled jobs in this focus sector and a sustainable competitive advantage in agriculture and agri-foods and beyond,” company chief executive Atul Bali said in a release.

“The objective of this research is to commercialize new bioplastics in collaboration with the University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, to add sustained value to Canadian agriculture, and to reduce dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels through the creation of price-performance competitive bio-based materials.”

Natural fibre composites are quickly growing in popularity as low cost, lightweight, recyclable and readily available substitutes to synthetic, petroleum-based fibre composites.

The company is currently focusing on compounding bio-composite resin with non-food and non-forest crops of biomass, such as switchgrass and oat hulls, and adding value to post-consumer and post-industrial agricultural film.

The investment in Competitive Green is being made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovation Program, a five-year initiative worth as much as $698-million.

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