Canada has an underutilized supply of sustainable forest biomass
In 2013, Canada only harvested ~152M m3 of timber despite having access to an allowable sustainable cut of ~215M m3. Reaching the allowable cut is important for more than just economic reasons. Since Canada’s boreal forests are fire-dominated ecosystems, it is important the resource is fully utilized and not left to burn. Increasing the sustainable cut also has is necessary to support Canada’s declining forestry sector. Pulp and paper production is a major component of the forestry sector. The pulp and paper sector’s productivity has decreased $3B since 2004, and the number of paper mills in Canada has dropped from around 50 to less than 30 since 2000.
Demand for “green chemistry” and bioproducts is increasing
The global market for bioproducts is expected to exceed US$472B by 2018, growing at an annual rate (CAGR) of 14.9%. Around the world, due to economic, regulatory and environmental incentives, as well as pressure from consumers, industrial chemicals companies are seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based products. Accordingly, the demand for bio-based products will continue to grow in value and volume.
Although greener bio-based materials are in demand, developing cost-effective manufacturing strategies that meet the precise specifications and consistency the market requires is technically challenging.
SYNBIOMICS is meeting these challenges by using genomics to mine the tremendous natural diversity of enzymes and optimizing them to produce high fidelity biocatalytic systems.
SYNBIOMICS will provide the following environmental, social, and economic benefits:
- environmental benefits by facilitating healthy forestry practices and promoting the transition from petrochemical to lower carbon renewable feedstocks;
- social benefits by revitalizing the forestry sector by increasing the sustainable forest harvest and establishing SME-mill clusters that drive economic activity and job growth in rural communities; and
- economic benefits by creating new forestry-derived products such as biopolymers for use in adhesives, dispersants, coatings, and bio-resins to meet global demand for green bio-based products.