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BioDesign conference set for Sept. 12

Published on

Pam Wright

The country’s first BioDesign Conference — highlighting opportunities within the biomass industry — may also help advance the development of a Canadian bio-economy strategy.

“There’s a lot of interest from across the country,” says Sandy Marshall, executive director of Sarnia-based BioIndustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), of the event to held in Sarnia Sept. 12 at Lambton College’s event centre.

While it’s the third BioIndustrial conference to be held locally, Marshall said this year’s event has been rebranded as the “inaugural” bio design conference, broadening the invite to all of Canada, rather than just Ontario.

“We are trying to build the bioindustry economy in Canada,” he said of the non-profit’s mission to create products and businesses that utilize renewable green and low-carbon energy methods.

Representatives from a range of companies will speak on various industry-related topics, including a materials sustainability representative from Ford Motor Co., as well as the manager of environment and regulatory affairs from the Forest Products Association of Canada.

“It’s not purely technical and people who are interested or want to know more about the industry are welcome to attend,” Marshall said.

On the Thursday following the event, industry leaders are expected to discuss aspects of developing a national bio-economy strategy, he added.

A number of associations are currently lobbying the federal government to come up with a comprehensive plan to strengthen and advance the industry nationwide.

Marshall said Canada’s forestry industry is already on board with biomass initiatives, while Southwestern Ontario is focused on the agricultural sector.

“We’d like to bring that together with forestry,” he said.

Marshall said the federal government has set aside funding to establish “super clusters” of biomass industry, which Sarnia-Lambton could possibly be part of.

A tour of Lambton College’s Centre of Excellence in Energy and Bioindustrial Technologies is also planned.

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