Program ID: Innovation Anthology #474
Program Date: 05/15/2012
Program Category: Agriculture, Bioeconomy, Biotechnology, Energy, Environment, Forests, Nanotechnology
CanBio Promotes Bioenergy from Ag-Forestry Residue
PROGRAM #474 INTERVIEW WITH DOUG BRADLEY
MP3: 4.9 MB
TIME: 5:24 MINUTES
Intro: Doug Bradley is the President of the Canadian Bioenergy Association. CanBio hosted its national conference in Edmonton at the end of April 2012 entitled "Advancing the Bio-economy: Biomass in a Canadian Energy Strategy."
CC: WHAT IS THE CANADIAN BIOENERGY ASSOCIATION, CANBIO?
DB: CanBio is an industry driven organization of industry members, including municipalities. We get very little government funding, and we quite frankly we don’t go after it because we want to remain industry based. And we are here to promote the development of bioenergy across the country.
CC: AND WHAT IS IT THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AT THE CONFERENCE IN EDMONTON?
DB: It’s been awhile since we’ve been out west. Canada is a big country. We have regional and national events which makes it very difficult to get to certain provinces annually. And we understand and recognize that Alberta is a leader in bio innovation And so we wanted to come back here and simply show our face again, show what we’re doing in bio energy and the bio economy, and link together and do things together
CC: HOW DO YOU DEFINE BIO ENERGY?
DB: Bioenergy is simply the production of energy in biomass. And often than means forest residuals and often it is agriculture residuals as well.
CC: SO RIGHT NOW A LOT OF THE FOCUS IN ALBERTA IS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF OIL SANDS. WE’RE STILL VERY MUCH CAUGHT UP IN A FOSSIL FUEL PARADIGM. SO WHERE DOES THIS BIOMASS, BIOENERGY FIT INTO THE OVERALL SCHEME OF THINGS?
DB: Bioenergy has been growing in leaps and bounds in Canada. I think more so in Europe. Europe has grasped bioenergy as a major component of its energy picture. And because we are so well endowed in oil and gas, it is going to be with us for a long time.
But we also recognize that we are one of the largest biomass sources on the planet. And so we can feed the European demand for bio oil, bio products, pellets, torrified wood, etc. But at the same time it will allow us to develop our own industry internally.
The other paradigm, of course, is wind power and solar power seem to be the young girls at the dance that everybody wants to dance with. We have to make people realize that there’s place for all of these energies and bioenergy can do a lot of things that wind and solar cannot do.
For instance, wind and solar produce only power. Whereas bioenergy produces power. It produces heat, renewable heat. It produces bio products, It produces exportable products. So we have a much more diverse space the other renewables. And I think bio energy has a major place to play in Canada.
CC: HOW EASY IS IT OR HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO INTEGRATE THE PRODUCTS FROM BIO ENERGY INTO WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE? INTO THE CURRENT SYSTEM?
DB: Integrate products? Well, interestingly oil and gas have been in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals space for a long, long time. And we feel we’re not going to muscle into that space, but that we have a place to be.
And we’re hoping to get partners with the oil and gas industry in the hopes that they will produce not only products from their own resources and sources, but also from renewable resources in bio energy.
CC: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS BEING SOME OF THE CHALLENGES IN TERMS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RIGHT NOW TO HELP FURTHER THIS ALONG?
DB: Ah, science and technology. Well, obviously there’s a lot of very new and exciting things happening in product development. but we recognize also there’s a long learning process.
One, for example, is torrified wood. Torrified wood is a product which is about 50 percent more energy dense, than pellets and it seems like one of those products that is easy to make. But when you try to make it at a commercial scale, it’s not that easy.
So we’re very careful not to promise too much until these bio products are actually made.
We have a very large number of very high end products that are being contemplated and researched at this very moment. But again, until we prove that it can be done commercially, we are still in that development phase.
CC: WELL I THOUGHT ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS THAT CAME UP THAT ONE OF THE OTHER SPEAKERS MENTIONED WAS THE USE OF GROWING STINKWEED TO PRODUCE A FUEL.
DB: Well frankly I don’t know much about stinkweed. That’s the first I’ve heard of it myself. But we’re aware that there’s an extensive number of agricultural feedstocks that can be used to make exciting products.
I’m actually working with an Alberta company right now that has a really exciting product for the food industry made from artichokes. So there’s no end of sources for new products.
CC: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS BEING THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE THEN IN TERMS OF GETTING THESE THINGS TO MARKET?
DB: Well I mean it depends. If you’re talking about products like pellets and torrified wood, there already is a market. We’re simply expanding. We’re actually the largest exporter of pellets on the planet Earth. And we expect to be for torrified wood, as well
For a lot of the other products, there’s things like bio oil for example, we’re the largest producers of bio oil on the planet. But a lot of customers don’t even realize what bio oil is.
So it’s a matter of, we can produce it, but we have to show them all of the uses. And that’s something that’s hard to do, which is market development. But we’re moving along in that area.
CC: THANK YOU VERY MUCH DOUG.
DB: Okay. Thank you.Doug Bradley is President of the Canadian Bioenergy Association in Ottawa.