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October 27, 2017 3:37 pm

Bioenergy Conference Now Bioeconomy Conference

Thursday, September 7, 2017 @ 5:59 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Next June, delegates from  around the world  will be coming to Prince George to talk bio-mass,  and will do so under a new banner.

What has been known  as the Bioenergy conference,   is now,  the Bioeconomy  conference.

The change reflects the  growth in the biomass industry says  Conference Board Chair Jim Martin “There’s a greater variety  of opportunities and products that are  out there in using renewable energy in things like biomass,  which is not just wood based anymore.”

Once,  biomass  referred primarily  of the  wood waste used to produce pellets , but Martin says there are other carbon based materials that  are being used,  or  studied,  for a variety of  things.  Take Canfor for instance.  It is  working  on a project that hopes to  make a fuel  out of  wood waste. “anything that  grows can be used  as a fuel source down the road” says Martin” and we want to reflect that there are many other opportunities  we need to showcase to  get people thinking about what  opportunities there are.”

The Province of Ontario has  just announced a special fund of nearly $26 million dollars to promote  the  development of green technologies.  The fund is similar to what has been offered in B.C.  for some time says Matin, “For the past number of years the B,.C. bioenergy network has   been a co-sponsor of our event and a partner.  They  are an agency of  (BC) government  that is tasked with the whole bioenergy  industry in finding innovation and getting things  actionable and getting bioenergy as a renewable energy source.”

It was 13 years ago that the first Bioenergy conference was held in Prince George, and it has been held in P.G. on a bi-annual basis ever since.    Having Prince George as the  home  to  this conference is pretty much a no brainer.  The  community  has  it’s own  district energy system fuelled by biomass,  the  University of Northern B.C.  also  uses bio energy and  the community is home to pellet plants.

The core of the conference will still be the same says Martin “What’s important to recognize is that we are really fossil fuel based, and there are so many more opportunities, and that is what we try to do with our conference,   bring people  together, share their ideas, have those who are on  leading edge of new technology or different ideas,   test them against the group and see innovation grow from there.”

But when it comes to wood waste,  there are challenges ahead in B.C.   The annual allowable cut has been reduced  and the  wildfires of this summer have  already burned 53 million cubic meters of timber.  Martin says  a benefit of the conference is the ability to  bring together  experts in their  field to talk about the different challenges, identify opportunities  and  look at  how  sustainable those opportunities may, or may not, be.

The conference is set to run  from June 6th to 8th next year.


“The change reflects the growth in the biomass industry”

Here is the definition of bioeconomy.

“Biobased economy, bioeconomy or biotechonomy refers to all economic activity derived from scientific and research activity focused on biotechnology. In other words, understanding mechanisms and processes at the genetic and molecular levels and applying this understanding to creating or improving industrial processes.”

While biomass is certainly a component of the bioeconomy, it is a very specific component and a relatively small component.

Our winery is not part of the biomass economy, but it most certainly belongs to the bioeconomy.

The question is, whether the much more broadly defined term will mean that we will see participation by more than the biomass enterprises, including the scientific research carried out in that industry, or will it continue to be restricted to biomass?

Look at what the OECD is doing in this much broader area.


I think this is worth a read to begin to understand another very important component of the bioeconomy and beiotechonomy.


UNBC has a small component of researchers working in the area of genomics.

I do not think we have any other local organization working in those types of bioeconomic fields. Perhaps someone else has knowledge of some.

We need to get into that for diversifying our economy in that direction. A tech park at UNBC would be a good place to start. It has been suggested a few times, but has never amounted to anything but a dream.

We are supposed to get an engineering faculty. Perhaps we could start with a Bioengineering school/faculty rather than a civil engineering based program.

In other words taxpayer funded subsidy mining.

Should be more effort on biodiversity in the forest sector in light of the recent fire season. More uses for decidious trees would go a long way and should be a higher priority.

IMO the bio-energy sector is only running at a fifth of its potential in the PG region, so we have a long way to go yet. Still a lot of wate, unmarketable timber, and other sources of fiber underutilized.

By any other name , it’s still extreme energy . Why not cut out all the middle men and go straight to the source of ALL energy . Sol herself provides all . She even grows the trees .

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