POS Bio-Sciences moves into commercial production

Bio Processing Centre purchase POS will focus on commercial production for the food, nutraceutical, bioproduct and biofuel industries

POS Bio-Sciences has taken another big step in its transition from a pilot processing facility to a commercial-scale custom processor.

POS has bought the Bio Processing Centre, which was owned by Saskatchewan Opportunities Corp., a provincial crown corporation.

President Dale Kelly said the government was having a tough time making a viable business of the plant, originally built by Canamino to fractionate oats to make health and grooming products.

“They ran it basically as a place that clients could go with a recipe and then they could execute that recipe for them,” he said.

POS has the scientists and engineers to help clients improve on their recipes and the shipping and receiving capabilities to better facilitate small-scale commercial production of products.

The 12,000 sq. foot facility will add to POS’s existing capacity at its 54,000 sq. foot plant. The company is not buying the building but is acquiring the staff, equipment and client list.

POS has been increasingly focusing on commercial production for the food, nutraceuticals, bioproduct and biofuel industries. It changed its name from POS Pilot Plant Corp. in 2009 to reflect the change in direction.

The company was originally established to assist with product development, but POS has increasingly been using its pilot plant for commercial production rather than just understanding the economics and quality attributes of products.

Kelly said POS has been reaching out to clients over the past two years to offer more custom production services to help bridge the gap be-tween product development and commercial production.

“It allows the companies to buy some time to earn some revenue until they can set up their own facility,” he said.

“Sometimes on price we can’t be terribly competitive on large volumes, but if it’s a small volume and quite a valuable coproduct, then we can easily do some interim custom production.”

The new processing centre, which has four times the production capacity of the pilot plant, will provide economies of scale for commercial production.

Rick Green, vice-president of technology with the company, said POS extracts and purifies ingredients from agricultural feedstocks for a variety of uses.

The company works with oils, proteins, beta-glucans and other ingredients to create high-value products. The resulting powders, oils or tinctures leave the plant in drums and pails.

POS recently installed a short-path distillation system, which allows it to fractionate oil into components. It is the first of its kind in Canada.

For instance, the company is able to split oil into a high omega 3 concentrate for the nutraceuticals industry and a stable frying oil for the food sector. The remaining saturated fraction can be used as a texture modifier for a product such as margarine.

POS was previously able to fractionate oil only on a lab scale, but the new equipment can process up to 150 kilograms of oil per hour, which means it can be used for product development or custom processing.

POS works with 75 research and development clients on 150 projects per year. The client list expands to 200 per year when the company adds analytical clients who use its laboratory services to help identify the chemical compounds of food samples.

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