Bioproducts Innovation Centre in Thunder Bay

Tuesday Dec 16, 2008

By The Working Forest staff

Former Ministry of Natural Resources ADM Mike Willick will act as interim CEO of a new bio-economy research centre in Thunder Bay. The Centre will be affiliated with Lakehead University and Confederation College according to Lakehead University sources. The centrepiece of the research centre will be a new bio-refinery that would act as a "test-bed" for developing environmental technologies and clean alternatives to fossil fuels according to a report released December 15. The Centre will be located in the NORD 21 building in Thunder Bay for the present time.

The report from a seven-member task force - outlines the province's vision for the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE).

CRIBE will focus on commercializing new bioproducts, such as eco-friendly fuels, composites and chemicals, and replacing products and services which have traditionally relied on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

Ontario government politicians were on hand in Thunder Bay on December 15 to announce the findings of the report and to confirm the $25 million in funding for the Centre.

"Innovation is the key to growing our existing businesses faster, and turning the rising global demand for renewable carbon-based fuels into new jobs, new industries and new investment for Ontario," said Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson.

Minister of Northern Development and Mines and local Thunder Bay MPP Michael Gravelle said, "Ontario's investment in CRIBE demonstrates that our government is responding to the challenges facing our province and our resource sector in the 21st century. By supporting innovation, we can drive new job creation and prosperity."

QUICK FACTS

  • The global renewable and bioproducts industry is expected to exceed $125 billion in revenues by the year 2010.
  • Forest bioproducts contribute an estimated $1 billion to Canada's economy.
  • Ontario produces close to 50 million tons of biomass a year, which has the potential to produce enough energy to meet the needs of seven million Ontario homes.
  • CRIBE will position Thunder Bay as a global leader in the bio-economy by combining the strength of Ontario's 27 million green cubic meters of forests with the province's world-class R&D capacity.