CRIBE and FPInnovations Partnership to Develop the Forest Bio-economy in Ontario

A new partnership has been created between the Center for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) and FPInnovations, to facilitate the transformation of the Ontario forest sector through the adoption of innovative technologies related to the forest bio-economy.

The new Partnership will promote the development of innovative technologies which use renewable resources such as trees and forest bio-residuals. It will employ existing infrastructure and engage industrial partners in developing bio-refinery pilot plants to evaluate promising technologies and new concepts and validate ideas relevant to the bioeconomy. It supports the pre-commercial demonstration of bio-economy technologies with a view at attracting new entrants related to the emerging forest-based bio-economy to Northern Ontario. The new partnership will also engage universities and colleges more systematically in the pursuit and delivery of an innovation agenda for the forest sector including the creation of a skilled workforce to support bio-economy initiatives.

CRIBE's Chairman Frank Dottori stated: "This shared funding agreement will allow proponents to move research findings and innovative business ideas quickly into commercial products and processes to assist in the generation of wealth and jobs to the economy of Northern Ontario".

"The Government of Ontario has recognized the need to move the Province to the forefront of the commercialization of chemicals, fuels, fibres and energy that can be produced from forests," added Lorne Morrow, Chief Executive Officer for CRIBE. "There is a significant opportunity to move products derived from the forest up the product value chain, using our forest fibre to produce higher value, novel products while reducing costs of manufacture for the more traditional forest products."

In partnership with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), FPInnovations will contribute equally with CRIBE, to the funding required to establish new scientific and technical capacity to support the pre-commercial demonstration of promising technologies related to the forest bio-economy in Northern Ontario. Under this new agreement, each of the parties will contribute up to $1 million per year for the next four years to establish this capacity.

In addition, the parties in conjunction with their respective government partners, NRCan and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, will provide up to $20 million in funding over the next four years towards pre-commercial demonstration projects of promising technologies for Northern Ontario.

Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO for FPInnovations stated: "This innovative approach is geared toward developing new scientific and technical capacity using forest biomass, pilot plant capabilities and pre-commercial demonstration projects in Northern Ontario. The engineering and technical studies are focussed on three alternatives: lignin, methanol, and hemicellulose. Our aim is to identify technical and business challenges around extracting and reusing these products. I have great hope for this partnership and the new possibilities it represents for the Ontario Forest Industry."

The new Forest Bio-Economy Program builds on FPInnovations' Transformative Technology Program which is funded by NRCan over the past two and half years. The latter establishes the technical base of several new technologies and in turn will support knowledge transfer and timely adaptation of bio-products for the benefit of Northern Ontario.

About CRIBE

CRIBE was established in 2009 by the Province of Ontario to support new job and business creation in the bio-economy sector using forest biomass from Northern Ontario. CRIBE seeks out partnerships with entepreneurs, research organizations and industry with the specific purpose of turning existing research and ideas into a commercial reality.

About FPInnovations

FPInnovations is Canada's leading not-for-profit forest products research institute which performs research, technical services and tech transfer activities relating to wood harvesting, wood products, pulp and paper, nanotechnology and bio-energy and chemical production. FPInnovations' staff numbers more than 600. Its research laboratories are located in Quebec City, Montreal and Vancouver, and it has technology transfer offices across Canada. For more information about FPInnovations, visit: www.fpinnovations.ca