In Canada, TerraVerdae Bioworks Inc., an industrial developer of bioplastics based in Edmonton, Alberta (AB), has recently received CA$4.5 million in federal and partner investment funding for new product development capacity for fully biodegradable, high-performance bioplastics.
TerraVerdae’s proprietary polymer technology platform is based on polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) produced via fermentation of renewable carbon sources such as municipal and forestry waste or agricultural residues. The company’s product focus is on films and coatings, thermoplastic moldings, adhesives, and specialty PHAs.
Federal and investor funding
The company has received CA$4.5 million – from Alberta Innovates, Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program (CGP), advisory services and research and development funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), and other investors – to expand its product development facilities in Edmonton.
The company also fine-tuned its unique capacity to custom-design bioplastic formulations for strength, elasticity, impact resistance, and more.
As the world works to contain and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we work together to achieve our goal of building a safe and resilient clean energy future for Canadians. We are supporting local businesses and investing in projects like TerraVerdae’s to position Canada as a leader in green innovation and sustainability. Creating less pollution and more jobs at a time when it is needed most, said Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.
With this investment, TerraVerdae now has enhanced in-house product development expertise and equipment for the production of industrial bioplastics used in the agricultural, forestry, food packaging, adhesives, and personal-care markets. Bioplastics offer a sustainable path forward for product manufacturers and help address the global build-up of plastic trash on land and in water.
We are supporting clean-tech innovations that strengthen our province’s traditional industries and help to launch new companies and products. Besides forestry and agricultural plastics, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving retail demand for single-use plastics like grocery bags to reduce the risk of community transmission. Bioplastics convert renewable carbon sources into must-have products that help reduce waste plastic contamination; that’s a concrete example of innovation, said Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates.
New product for forestry
One product is a bioplastic pouch for tree seedlings that will be consumed by soil microbes and disappear within several months of planting in the forest. TerraVerdae plans to test launch the bioplastic pouches later this year for commercial use by foresters, to be followed by other bioplastic products for use in other sectors.
Each year the forest industry plants millions of tree seedlings. With Arbor Day taking place in many jurisdictions from late April to early May, we think this is a great time to announce this major funding from Alberta Innovates, Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council of Canada, along with private investors in our global network. We have achieved major milestones in the last year, including a significant expansion of our technical resources and capabilities, and increased partnerships for technology access, development, and commercialization, said William Bardosh, CEO and founder, TerraVerdae Bioworks.