On-farm biodiesel research plant funded

Designed for research, a farm-scale oilseed processing and biodiesel plant at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus has picked up almost $940,000 in federal funding.

Dave Van Kesteren, a southern Ontario MP, announced $938,260 in federal funding Friday for the facility, which will be operated in partnership with local soybean and pork producers to help determine the optimum model and scale for an economically viable on-farm biodiesel plant.

“The facility will provide an independent evaluation platform for the economic structure and feasibility of a small-scale, closed-loop system of biodiesel production,” the government said in a release.

The plant, as part of a five-year project, will also be used to investigate alternate feedstock such as waste and residues, unmarketable crops and agri-processing byproducts that may be used as energy crops while assessing environmental considerations.

“The framework and benchmarks created through this project will assist farmers in determining the feasibility of undertaking their own farm-scale biofuels operation,” said Kim Turnbull, chair of Ontario’s Agricultural Adaptation Council, in the government’s release.

The University of Guelph plans to collaborate with a “wide range” of agricultural schools and organizations to use available expertise and hire both a biofuels specialist and technician to “demonstrate, develop and extend biofuels technologies to the farm,” the government said in its release.

Funding for the project will flow through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program, delivered in Ontario by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

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