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Feds fund oilseed research network

Exchanges of information and expertise on oilseed biology, with an eye toward new petroleum substitutes, will get a $3 million boost from Ottawa, the federal government announced Friday.

Christian Paradis, the federal secretary of state for agriculture, announced the funding for the Industrial Oil Seed Network (IOSN) Friday in Thetford Mines, Que.

Of the $3 million, which will flow through the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP), Linnaeus Plant Sciences of Vancouver will get $2.556 million to administer IOSN and fund non-government research activities.

IOSN will also involve researchers in the U.S., who will share their expertise in soybean oil so that it can be applied to Canadian oilseed crops, the government said.

IOSN is expected to develop a new type of oilseed that will be used solely for the production of petroleum substitutes, in applications such as fuel additives for use in heavy equipment and marine towing operations; bio-based hydraulic fluids; and bio-based oils in the construction industry, civic bus transportation, and lobster fishing, the government said.

IOSN “will transition non-food Canadian oilseeds crops from a low-value commodity to a high-value industrial feedstock that can substitute for petroleum in a variety of applications,” said Linnaeus president Jack Grushcow in the government’s release.

Oleotek, a Thetford Mines company, will get $235,000 as a participant in IOSN. “The contract will give Oleotek an opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team throughout the country to achieve a sustainable development objective,” said François Dornier, president of the Centres for the Transfer of Technology, in the federal release.

Oleotek’s work with IOSN is to focus on the chemical synthesis of triacylglycerol (TAG) moieties containing hydroxy fatty acids (HFA) to develop oilseed-based oils suitable for use in industrial fluid applications, the government said.

Among the other initiatives to be involved in IOSN are:

  • a group of First Nations entrepreneurs from the Sechelt Band, incorporating a variety of oilseed-based petroleum substitutes into their practices, including fuel additives for use in heavy equipment and marine towing operations;
  • Toronto Community Housing, which the government called “North America’s fifth largest landlord,” evaluating a vegetable-based biodegradable elevator fluid for use in their buildings, and running a “fluid audit” to look at other areas where petroleum products could be replaced by vegetable-based products;
  • a group in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick supporting the use of bio-based oils in the construction industry, civic bus transportation and lobster fishing fleets; and
  • the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, providing input to help develop several initiatives such as blending, packaging and distribution business opportunities for bio-based products, recycling of used bio-degradable fluids, and user support including bio-based fleet management.

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