COVID-19 Update

The Bio Processing Innovation Centre remains open for clients who wish to access the facility, where additional safety protocols have been implemented to protect both staff and clients. Additionally, the pilot facility has received Health Canada approvals to produce hand sanitizers, which are currently being distributed to the Provincial Operations Centre and other Government of Alberta offices.

Overview

The Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section – Bio Processing Innovation Centre (BPIC) offers a suite of facilities, equipment and expertise to help researchers and companies succeed. These assets offer lab-scale to full-scale production, giving companies the ability to test, troubleshoot and improve their proof-of-concept ideas and processes before committing to full production.

Examples of program equipment

Value-added Fractionation and NNHP

The Value-added Fractionation and Natural and Non-prescription Health Products (NNHP) Program helps to accelerate product development, optimization and commercialization by providing business development tools and technical services to emerging and established companies. A dedicated formulation lab enables clients to develop novel cosmetic, personal care and topical NNHPs while the BPIC facility is equipped with specialized equipment for extraction and purification on a pilot scale.

Our team can also provide training on specialized equipment and help companies navigate regulatory hurdles in the NNHP sector. We have a robust Quality Management system ensuring Good Manufacturing Practices are adhered to.

Table 1. Equipment – Value-added Fractionation and NNHP Program

Process Capacity
High temperature/pressure reactions Contact for details
Particle size and size distribution analysis Beckman Coulter LS 13320 (from Nano size up to 2000 nm)
Pressurized extraction 0.5 to 2 litres (lab scale); Timatic Micro extractor (up to 8 bar)
Essential oil extraction 2 litres (lab scale) to 30 litres (BPIC)
Thermo-combustion protein analysis LECO FP-628 nitrogen/protein analyzer
Low/medium pressure chromatography Contact for details
Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography Dionex UltiMate 3000 U/HPLC with IR, UV and ELSD detectors
Membrane filtration Tubular and spiral membranes (MF, UF, NF and RO); Membrane Specialists Lab unit (4-80L batch sizes)
Near-infrared spectroscopy Contact for details
Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy Contact for details
Cosmetic and NNHP formulation Fully-stocked laboratory for formulation development
Cold oilseed press Montforts CA59-G3
Gas Chromatograph Agilent 6890 GC Series

Pilot scale wet processing

Since 2017, BPIC has operated with a Health Canada NNHP site licence and a 4,800 ft2 wet processing area that accommodates extraction and purification of a wide range of biomass including oilseeds, cereal grains, specialty crops, botanicals and biomass secondary process streams. Process equipment is available for purifying and concentrating crude botanical extracts, including a pilot scale spray dryer which can remove water at 20 to 60 litres per hour.

Table 2. Equipment – Pilot scale wet processing

Process Capacity
Milling Contact for details
Sieving Contact for details
Seed oil expelling 200-300 kg seed processed/hr
Filter press 24" plate and frame; 1,000 L/hr depending on filter porosity; Hillard Star, cold and hot filtering
Pressurized extraction 100 and 200L vessels, Timatic 100/200
Membrane filtration Tubular and spiral membranes up to 1,000L/hr depending on the membranes used (NF, UF, NF and RO); Membrane Specialists – Custom design
Fractional distillation 22L Batch Fractionation with max. temperature up to 250oC and vacuum up to 30 mmHg
Freeze drying SP Ultra pilot and small production lyophilizer with max. condenser capacity 35 L
Tray drying Mechanical convection oven with the capacity of 24 Cu. ft and max. temp of 350oC
Spray drying 20 to 60 kg per hour

Scale-up manufacturing suite

Table 3. Equipment – Scale-up manufacturing suite

Process Capacity
Batch processing 20 to 2,000 litres
Wax melting and hot filling 400 litres; WaxMelters 300
Packaging Bottles and jars from 15 mL to 4,000 mL; tubes from 60 to 250 mL
Sample filler Up to 50 mL
Automatic filling machine Filamatic EconoFIL (bottles and jars from 50ml-2L)
Piston filler 50 to 4,000 mL; Technopack, both hopper and vat units; multiple piston heads for a wide range of bottles, jars and tubes.
Product coder Anser U2 Pro Thermal Inkjet Printer
Tubing Sealer Sorbent Systems MSTSS760/TP-30
Tamperproof Seal Heat shrink tunnel Jorestech TUN-1540
Bag/Pouch sealer Technopack
Induction sealer Technopack
Small volume filler Jorestech magnetic filler
Automated labeler and coder Busch Machinery
Semi-automated labeler Jorestech Omicron-50
Semi-automated cardboard box/case closer Technopack

Biomaterial Development and Characterization

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Biomaterial Development and Characterization Program supports the commercialization of bio-based materials from agriculture and forestry biomass. The abundance of feedstock such as hemp, flax and cereal fibres, as well as forestry residues, presents an emerging opportunity for Alberta to develop the biomaterial sector. In addition, biomaterials can also be derived from agri-food processing side streams that are normally destined for the landfill and thus supports the agriculture value-added industry.

Table 4. Equipment – Biomaterial development and characterization

Process Capacity
Size reduction by milling machines Lab and pilot scale; particle size greater than 250 microns
Classification by particle size US mesh 325 to 7
Pre-treatment of fibre materials Surface treatment of fibre with wet processing or extrusion
Surface area and pore size analysis Nova 4200 analyzer
Fibre dimension measurements SMZ800N with 8:1 zoom ratio enabling high resolution observation
(Vis-)NIR analysis Benchtop and portable
Particle size profiling Beckman Coulter LS 13320 (0.4-2000 µm) or sieve shaker (25 -3350 µm)
Extrusion and compounding Feeding rate up to 100's of kgs; hot face die and strand die available
Injection moulding Specimens from 2 to 12.5 mL; mold of ASTM D638 Type IV and ISO 527-2-1A available
Compression molder Thickness of 0.1 to 5 mm according to ASTM and ISO standards
Tensile, flexural and compressive tests Instron 5950 performing to ASTM and ISO standards
Pelletization Unit pelletizer and pilot pelleting system
Pellet durability and bulk density testing Durability tester with 4 chambers; bulk density testing with 1-litre or 1-quart option
Texture analyzer Stabel Micro Systems TA XT Plus

Organic Waste Reduction and Valorization

Food loss and waste (FLW) is a continuous challenge for the food and beverage processing sector. Losses and waste from inefficient process designs leads to increased costs in raw ingredients, packaging materials, energy and water consumption, labour and waste management. By-products from production also add to labour and waste disposal costs.

The Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section works closely with companies to understand the composition of their waste streams – both organic wastes and wastewater – in order to find opportunities to valorize them into value-added products rather than disposing them as wastes. Companies can become more competitive, save money by avoiding tipping fees for waste disposal and earn extra income by selling their value-added products made from waste streams.

Dedicated businesses that process organic wastes into value-added products are also becoming increasingly popular in Alberta. Biogas facilities that generate renewable natural gas or green electricity from organic wastes help to lower the carbon footprint of Canada’s energy mix. Diverting wastes from landfills to insect farms also helps prevent methane generation while creating valuable animal feed ingredients.

The Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section has funded a number of case studies to help industry understand opportunities around food processing wastes. An important project is currently underway, examining government initiatives in other jurisdictions dealing with food loss and waste and wastewater, and whether these initiatives can be replicated in Alberta.

Contact

Connect with the Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-644-8118
Fax: 780-638-3586
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

Ken Gossen, Executive Director:
Phone: 780-980-4860
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

Hong Qi, Director:
Phone: 780-644-8128
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

Address:
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section
O.S. Longman Building
4th Floor, 6909 116 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T6H 4P2