Prairie Gold Project Takes Flight
April 26, 2012
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., in partnership with Genome Prairie and additional partners have announced a world-first series of biojet flight tests. In collaboration with Canada's National Research Council (NRC) and Honeywell UOP Inc., Agrisoma has initiated test flights using a biojet fuel blend that was derived from Agrisoma's new Brassica carinata variety ResonanceTM .The ResonanceTM oil feedstock was blended with petroleum-based jet fuel. These test flights will demonstrate fuel performance and also measure in-flight emissions in real-time during multiple flight segments. The ResonanceTM crop used for the biojet fuel was grown in Kincaid, Saskatchewan in the summer of 2011 and is being commercially contracted on significant acres in western Canada for the 2012 crop year.
The technological development of industrial carinata from the field, to seed crushing, to initial biofuel refining was supported in part by the Genome Prairie led "Prairie Gold" project, a $4.5 million initiative which received federal and provincial funding. The overall goal of Prairie Gold is to translate genomics-based discoveries to develop and commercialize industrial oilseed crops that will allow synthesis of renewable alternatives to existing petroleum products. One of these crops, Brassica carinata (Ethiopian mustard) contains an oil profile that is highly suitable for biofuel production. Although carinata is closely related to the highly successful Canola crops in Canada, it is a non-food crop that grows well on marginal lands with minimal inputs; making it an ideal choice for industrial applications.
ResonanceTM offers a strong rotation option for southern prairie growers. Recently, Agrisoma and Paterson Grain have announced a long term partnership agreement for the commercial contracting and distribution of ResonanceTM, a name that reflects the new crop's energy connection. Under the agreement, Paterson will be the exclusive contracting partner for identity preserved production of carinata energy feedstock in Western Canada, and seed will be distributed through Paterson outlets.
Agrisoma President and CEO Steven Fabijanski stated: "The support of Genome Prairie and the vision behind Prairie Gold have been instrumental in the commercialization of ResonanceTM. This is the first industrial oilseed selected for energy applications that has been commercialized in Canada, meeting the vision of Prairie Gold for the development and renewable alternatives for energy. The commercial roll out of the crop is targeting the southern Prairies, providing Saskatchewan growers with a new cash crop, opening the way for enhanced agricultural production and adding to the local economy. The unique genetic profile of ResonanceTM enables this production and the unique oil profile provides for enhanced efficiencies for biofuel manufacturing, highlighting how genomics and genomic discoveries contribute to opportunities in agriculture."
"This is a major step for Agrisoma, and Genome Prairie is pleased to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them," said Genome Prairie CEO Wilf Keller, "We look forward to helping them improve the oil content and profile of their new carinata varieties and refine their processing technologies which will improve the performance of future biojet formulations."
"The number-one priority of our Government is creating jobs, growth and long term prosperity," said the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "Our support for this project is helping to strengthen both the agriculture sector and the aviation industry in Saskatchewan."
"The research into renewable alternatives to petroleum products is creating environmentally friendly economic opportunities for farmers here in Saskatchewan," said the Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Enterprise and Minister Responsible for Trade. "Saskatchewan is a natural fit for the industrial oilseed research and we look forward to Genome Prairie and Agrisoma's continued success."
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 research.
For additional information, contact:
Genome Prairie / Ag-West Bio
Tel: (306) 956-3086