SaskCanola funds U.S. work on canola-based products

A Chicago-area company specializing in creating chemicals from “natural oils” will get a research grant from Saskatchewan farmers to try its processes on canola.

Elevance Renewable Sciences on Thursday announced it had picked up a C$250,000 grant from the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (a.k.a. SaskCanola) to “enhance the use of canola in the development of renewable-based chemicals.”

Elevance said its key processing technology, olefin metathesis, is used on oils from renewable sources such as oilseed crops to develop specialty chemicals, for use as petroleum substitutes in products such as waxes, functional oils, antimicrobials and lubricants.

“By partnering with SaskCanola, Elevance will be able to apply our proven metathesis process to canola more efficiently, creating products that outperform those made using traditional petroleum-based ingredients,” Elevance CEO K’Lynne Johnson said Thursday in a release.

Elevance said its initial plans for canola will be to develop an alternative to petrolatum, also called petroleum jelly, used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors.

“The research grant to Elevance will specifically engage new technologies and increase opportunities for the use of canola oil,” SaskCanola executive director Catherine Folkersen was quoted as saying in Elevance’s release.

“It also has the potential to generate an estimated increase in demand of three million metric tonnes per year of Saskatchewan canola by Elevance before 2016.”

Elevance said in the release that it will be able to “improve the use of canola as a foundation for specialty chemicals, creating lower manufacturing costs.”

SaskCanola’s grant “currently focuses on petrolatum as the final product (but) the potential exists to find other end uses for specialty chemicals generated from canola,” the company added.

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