Government of Canada

Government of Canada
Government of Saskatchewan

Government of Saskatchewan

December 03, 2010 11:01 ET

Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan Invest in Research and Development

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2010) - Today, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification and the Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Saskatchewan Minister of First Nations and Métis Relations announced a federal and provincial investment of more than $6.5 million towards two projects through the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA). 

The first joint investment will see more than $2 million go towards testing new oilsands technology being developed by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan Toxicology Centre. The second investment of $4.5 million will support a three-year research initiative, led by Genome Prairie, to develop new varieties of oilseed crops, camelina and Brassica carinata, for industrial applications.

"Our Government's investment in these projects illustrates our commitment to turning world-class research into new products and services," said the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "These investments will create high quality jobs and an increased standard of living for Canadians."

"Our province is well known for its advancements in the areas of research and innovation," the Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of First Nations and Metis Relations said on behalf of the Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Enterprise and Minister Responsible for Trade. "WEPA funding will allow the University of Saskatchewan's Toxicology Centre and Genome Prairie to build upon these strengths and help create a strong, sustainable future for everyone." 

Toxicology Centre researchers, led by renowned environmental toxicologist John Giesy, are working with the International Petroleum & Environmental Recovery Company (IPERC) to scale up IPERC's technology, San-Tek 2000, to the pilot plant stage. The Toxicology Centre will conduct the analytical work. The technology separates oil from oilsands bitumen and minimizes water and energy used in the extraction process. It could reduce both economic and environmental costs for oilsands development companies.

"This investment furthers work in several of our signature areas of research strength," said U of S President Peter MacKinnon. "This technology promises to help us develop our energy resources in a more environmentally sustainable manner and be responsible stewards of our vital freshwater supplies."

Genome Prairie will pilot the second research project in collaboration with leading research companies and federal and provincial government partners. Research will focus on the potential of engineering the oil profile of camelina and Brassica carinata for use as a petroleum substitute in a variety of high value, non-fuel applications such as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, greases and polymers. Future commercialization of these new crops will lead to increased oilseeds diversification, providing growers with more choices for crop production and potentially increased revenues.

"Results of this research will have a positive impact on our rural economy as producers will have access to new high value cropping options including more diversified crop rotation opportunities," commented Wilf Keller, President and CEO of Genome Prairie. 

The University of Saskatchewan founded the Toxicology Centre in 1986. The centre has grown to be the largest university-based toxicology centre in Canada. The centre's Aquatic Toxicology Research Facility (ATRF), created in 2006, is the only facility of its type in Canada and one of only a few in the world, allowing the U of S to pursue its goal of becoming the national and international leader in aquatic toxicology research and training.

Genome Prairie, a non-profit organization established in 2000, fosters world-class innovation and commercialization on the Prairies by managing research projects and facilitating regional participation for genomic research and knowledge transfer. It delivers public education and awareness of societal impacts including ethical, economic, environmental and legal issues related to genomics.

Both Canada and Saskatchewan are contributing $25 million each over four years to the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement to strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in western Canadian communities.

A stronger West. A stronger Canada

BACKGROUNDER

University of Saskatchewan Toxicology Centre

Toxicology Centre researchers at the University of Saskatchewan, led by renowned environmental toxicologist John Giesy, are working with the International Petroleum & Environmental Recovery Company (IPERC) to further develop IPERC's technology San-Tek 2000.

The Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement funding announced today will be used to scale up the San-Tek 2000 technology from the U of S Toxicology Centre's lab to the pilot plant stage. The Toxicology Centre will conduct the analytical work.

Pilot plant testing will help assess the commercial viability of San-Tek 2000 in Canada's oilsands, one of the richest petroleum deposits in the world. If successful, the technology could contribute to cleaner, more economical oilsands extraction processes.

The federal and provincial governments are investing $1,017,850 each through the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA). The University of Saskatchewan will contribute $274,000 in kind. The three-year project will create five jobs.

Genome Prairie - Prairie Gold

Under the name 'Prairie Gold', Genome Prairie will coordinate several research projects to develop environmentally-friendly industrial oilseed crop varieties of Camelina sativa (false flax) and Brassica carinata (Ethiopian mustard).

Federal and provincial funding totalling $4.5 million, over three years, will be utilized for research into the genetic structure and plant breeding of camelina and carinata to maximize the oil profile and increase production per acre.

Camelina and carinata have lower inputs than canola which means that both can be grown on less productive land instead of arable lands used for food production. Excluding industrial oilseeds from the food supply and using marginal lands for production means the development of industrial crops resolve the 'food vs. fuel' debate.

Utilizing the crops as a petroleum substitute for high value, non-fuel applications such as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, greases and polymers will create end-products with more value than those developed from traditional oil seed crops (ie. canola).

The bio-products industry will gain access to established high-value markets for non-fuel petroleum products. Jobs will be created in many downstream sectors such as oil processing, product formulations, and the marketing chain for environmentally-friendly renewable oil products. 

The environment will also benefit due to the minimal input of fertilizers and pesticides needed to grow these crops.

Benefits for farming include: valuable rotation crops, ability to grow a high-value crop on marginal land, meal by-products to supplement animal feed, and the ability to maintain farm equipment with products made from agricultural efforts.

"Prairie Gold" will provide a pathway for the development of an industrial crop economy and will present a model for acceptance and approval of future industrial crops.

Contact Information

  • Western Economic Diversification Canada
    Office of the Minister
    Jerra Byrne
    jerra.byrne@wd.gc.ca
    or
    Enterprise Saskatchewan
    Regina, Saskatchewan
    Joanne Johnson
    Communications Director
    306-798-0503
    or
    University of Saskatchewan
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Michael Robin
    Research Communications
    306-966-1425
    or
    Genome Prairie
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Carol Reynolds
    Director, Communications and Government Relations
    306-241-9033
    or
    Western Economic Diversification Canada
    Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
    TTY: 1-877-303-3388
    www.wd-deo.gc.ca