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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Scaling Up? 


A: Scaling Up is the only conference of its kind that brings together Canadian and international public and private stakeholders to discuss solutions to accelerate the global bioeconomy. The industrial bioeconomy includes four broad categories: biofuels, bioenergy, biomaterials, and biochemicals. All of these can be made from sustainable biomass instead of from hydrocarbons.


Q: What is sustainable biomass? 


A: Sustainable biomass is any renewable resource, such as forest, marine, municipal, or agriculture wastes and residues. Many of the most common items—from the fuel in our buses and cars, to the paint on our walls, to the body products we use—could all be made or derived from sustainable biomass.


Q: Are materials derived from biomass by definition sustainable?


A: No. As certain biomass materials are removed to feed the bioeconomy, they must be restored, recycled, and replenished. To be truly sustainable, the bioeconomy must be part of the circular economy, a key theme at Scaling Up 2018.


Q: What is a circular economy?


A: Simply put, a circular economy aims to close the loop between supplier and end user by eliminating all forms of waste. Such a system means that the products and materials produced have longer lifespans, and when they can no longer be used for their intended functions, are reused, recycled, or repurposed.


Q: Why is the bioeconomy important to Canada? 


A: The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) estimates that the world market for energy, fuels, materials, and chemicals from biomass will hit its stride in less than a decade and will represent between $2.6 and $5.8 trillion USD. Canada has one of the largest biomass resources in the world, including 9% of the world's forests. Together with the federal government’s focus on a low-carbon economy, Canada is in an ideal position to capitalize on these emerging markets.


Q: Why is it so difficult to get bioeconomy projects to full-scale? 


A: Many biorefineries get to the pilot and demonstration stage, but then stall at full-scale implementation and commercialization. Some of the reasons include a lack of access to secure financing and government policy uncertainty. In addition, reliable information on biomass quantity and cost is, for the most part, unavailable.


Q: Are there full-scale Canadian bioeconomy success stories? Yes!


  • Ensyn produces biocrude from forest and agricultural residues from its commercial plant in Renfrew, Ontario.

  • Saskatchewan’s Milligan Biofuels transforms oil from damaged canola seed into biodiesel.

  • EcoSynthetix of Burlington, Ontario produces biopolymers for use in wood composite products.

  • Ottawa-based Iogen Energy's advanced cellulosic biofuel technology was used in Brazilian ethanol giant, Raízen Energia Participacoes SA's biomass-to-ethanol facility.

  • Whitesand First Nation's 5 MW biomass cogeneration plant not only provides reliable heat and electricity, but energy security and jobs for the community.

  • Due to Sarnia, Ontario's bioenergy-friendly policies and skilled workforce, Origin Materials of California moved north. Origin now converts cellulose into chemicals that can be used in a wide range of products.


Q: Who's coming to Scaling Up?


A: Canadian and international representatives from industry, research, finance, government...all those who have a stake in the bioeconomy.


Q: Who should come? 


A: Anyone interested in learning more about the bioeconomy, about bioenergy, and the challenges and solutions for Canada!


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