Expanded Bioproducts Innovation Centre Opens

November 15, 2013 - News Release

More green products made from crops will soon reach the market, thanks to an expansion of the University of Guelph’s groundbreaking Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC).

U of G officially opened Phase 2 of the BDDC today. Known as the BMO Bioproducts Innovation Extension, it includes new cutting-edge research equipment and commercialization facilities.

The BDDC, which opened in 2008, aims to reduce dependency on petroleum-based products in manufacturing and consumer goods by developing renewable, eco-friendly alternatives.

U of G scientists are turning plant materials such as wheat, soy and corn into resins, polymers and tough fibres for everything from car parts to furniture and storage bins. They also investigate new crops for use in composite materials.

The new extension will help researchers develop more complex manufacturing applications and higher-value green products.

The expansion was funded by a $1.25-million gift from BMO Financial Group announced last month, as well as $1.9 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through its Prosperity Initiative, and $550,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). OMAF has contributed more than $7.5 million to this program since its inception.

“Our government and private partners have made an investment in the future—the future here at Guelph and the future of our country,” said president Alastair Summerlee.

“Their support has enabled us to expand and enhance this innovative facility, allowing our scientists to further their work of finding new uses for agricultural products. That’s critically important in today’s world of global warming and depleting resources.”

Kathleen Wynne, Ontario premier and minister of agriculture and food, added: “The growing global bio-economy offers enormous opportunities for Ontario. That’s why our plan for economic growth is focused on making smart investments like these — investments that help people make greener choices while supporting a dynamic and innovative business climate.”

Wellington-Halton MP Michael Chong attended today’s event on behalf of Gary Goodyear, minister of state for FedDev Ontario. Created in 2009, FedDev supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region’s strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth.

“The federal government is committed to investing in new, fast-growing areas such as the biomaterial sector,” Chong said. “This investment in the University of Guelph will allow the expansion of laboratory facilities, giving researchers the tools they need to develop new bio-based products with promising commercial applications.”

Phase 2 was also supported by other donations to the BetterPlanet Project, the University’s $200-million fundraising campaign for teaching and research in food, environment, health and communities, including:

• A $250,000 gift from William (Bill) Harrison, a 1962 graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), for whom a BDDC lab is named;

• $120,000 from the Agricultural Adaptation Council;

• A $100,000 gift from the OAC 1962 class, recognized by the OAC '62 Innovation Laboratory; and

• $60,000 from the OAC class of 1961.

“These investments have helped make Canada and more specifically the University of Guelph a world leader in an important and evolving field,” said Rob Gordon, OAC dean.

“Biomaterials research supports Ontario’s important bio-economy and creates added opportunities for the sector to continue to grow. It also further supports new innovations and discoveries that will allow farmers and others along these important new value chains to enhance the sustainability of materials that we use around the world.”

The BDDC is directed by Prof. Amar Mohanty, an international leader in biomaterials who holds the Premier’s Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation, part of the Ontario Research Chairs program.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1