Harper government invests in Alberta LTH technology
May 4, 2012, Edmonton, AB – A new leading-edge technology capable of converting agricultural waste materials into high-value commercial products is one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to support from the Harper Government.
Brian Jean, Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray-Athabasca, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, has announced an investment of $970,000 for the University of Alberta to establish a pilot plant to further demonstrate and refine an innovative new process known as Lipid to Hydrocarbon (LTH) technology.
“Today’s investment will provide the tools needed to test, demonstrate and ultimately commercialize an important western Canadian technological achievement that will open up new commercial opportunities for our agricultural sector,” said MP Jean. “Through investments like this, our Government is helping to drive innovation while generating jobs and economic growth in our communities.”
The technology is considered to be highly marketable because of its capacity to convert agricultural materials currently treated as waste, such as vegetable oils and animal fats, as well as oils derived from algae, into high-value by-products such as fuels, chemicals and solvents. These by-products can then be used to enhance a variety of commercial applications, ranging from jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel to specialty solvents for canola oil extraction facilities and specialized chemicals used in oil and gas drilling operations.
An Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) grant is providing additional support for the initiative.
“The University of Alberta’s LTH research project aligns with ALMA’s business goal of enhancing competitiveness,” said Gordon Cove, ALMA president and CEO. “This exciting and innovative project will help industry become more profitable, sustainable and competitive.”
The successful demonstration of the technology is expected to strengthen Alberta’s value-added agricultural sector by leading to the establishment of a new Alberta-based industrial plant and university spin-off company. The new company would focus on producing and supplying products to various consumer goods industries.
“Research in the area of bio-products is a strength and a priority at the University of Alberta,” says Dr. Lorne Babiuk, Vice-President (Research). “To see the innovative research that led to the discovery of Lipid to Hydrocarbon Technology now move further along the path towards full commercialization backed by the strong support of the federal government is exciting for the University of Alberta. Given the important environmental and economic implications of the technology, this is an excellent example of how partnerships between sectors can improve life for all Canadians.”
The project is being led by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, which has been working to create and design the technology for the past nine years. The pilot plant will be located at the University of Alberta’s Agri-Food Discovery Place.
About Western Economic Diversification Canada
Western Economic Diversification Canada works to create jobs and economic growth in the western Canadian economy. By promoting new economic opportunities, WD is securing a more diverse and prosperous future for the West while advancing western interests at the national level.