Bioenergy Conference Now Bioeconomy Conference
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 .
Comments for this article are closed.