Sustainability push sparks conference

Meetings about greenhouse gas emissions and biofuels are just starting to become regular occurrences in Western Canada.

In Europe there are entire tradeshow events and large scale conferences, conferences. Governments there have provided direction and funding to industries including agriculture about energy production, use and climate change planning.

The Agricultural Producers of Saskatchewan and the Alberta Agricultural Producers Association have both held meetings in the past year that focused on issues surrounding carbon emissions.

A new Alberta event will bring the oil and gas, agriculture and other industries together for a meeting in Edmonton in November.

Called Spark , the event is intended to bring investors, innovating scientists and entrepreneurs and agricultural producers together to engage on new technology and bio-industrial solutions.

Gord Lindenberg of JuneWarren Nickles Energy said the event is being hosted by Emissions Reduction Alberta and Alberta Innovates.

“Spark 2017 will be a very exciting event, bringing together many of today’s top thought leaders and  innovators in the emissions reductions space. This conference will be highly relevant to anyone concerned about greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture, energy and bio-industrial sectors,” said Lindenberg.

One of the expected outcomes of the event will be advancing commercialization of regionally developed technologies.

Researcher Mehr Nikoo will be speaking at the event. The University of Alberta researcher has developed a spray foam insulation from oil extracted from off-grade canola.

Dan Madlung of Biocomposites Group in Drayton Valley, Alta., is using agricultural fibre from hemp and flax to build automobile components and his fibre mats are being looked at for soil erosion control and soaking up oil spills.

Bernhard Seifried’s Ceapro Inc. uses oats to make bio-active ingredients that are sold to Johnson and Johnson for inclusion in personal care products such as Aveeno and Neutrogena.

He also produces oat extracts for cholesterol-lowering nutraceutical products.

Another presenter finding homes for oilseeds and speaking at Spark is James Szarko of Botaneco. His company uses safflower and canola oil to produce natural ingredients for the personal care industry.

On the energy side Tim Haig of Forge Hydrocarbons uses industrial waste fats to create commercially viable, renewable fuels.

Also at the event, Tanya Maynes of Viresco will speak on the carbon neutral cow and Remi Schmaltz of Decisive Farming will talk about carbon reduction in precision agriculture.

The University of Alberta’s David Bressler will also address his research into farmed biomass conversions to higher value chemicals and value-added composites.

The event takes place Nov. 7.

For more information visit www.spark2017.ca.

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