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.
The Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section provides technical and business development support for the development, scale-up and commercialization of non-food value-added products and applications. Adding value to Alberta’s biomass resources helps to create jobs, stimulate economic diversification and grow the provincial economy.
A team of dedicated professionals can help you advance your bio-based project, from biomaterials and bio-based chemicals to bioenergy and natural health products. Our focuses include:
- identifying new opportunities for agricultural/forestry processing and production of value-added products from waste streams and byproducts
- maximizing value through fractionation of biomass to isolate high value ingredients
- facilitating commercialization and market access through industry development and extension activities
The Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section offers a suite of facilities, equipment and expertise to help companies succeed. The assets are uniquely positioned between lab-scale and full-scale production, giving companies the ability to test and improve their proof-of-concept ideas and processes before committing to full production.
The Section operates the Bio Processing Innovation Centre (BPIC), which provides essential product development and scale-up support for fibre decortication and refinement, grain fractionation, separation, extraction, polymerization and extrusion. With a natural and non-prescription health products (NNHP) license from Health Canada, the facility can also provide interim manufacturing services for cosmetic/personal care products and NNHPs. The facility also has an industry hemp license that allows clients to develop hemp-based products.
|Engineering services||$350 per day*|
|Technical consultation||$350 per day|
|Benchtop development – by section staff||$350 per day|
|Benchtop development – by client staff||$200 per day|
|Pilot plant development||$500 per day|
|Interim processing||$500 to $1,200 per day|
|Post-processing cleaning||$25 per person per hour|
|Handling and storage||$0.10 per kg per day|
|Seminars and demonstrations||Cost plus 10%|
* Daily rates are based on a 7.25-hour day.
These fees apply to Alberta companies or companies that have processing facilities in Alberta. Fees for out-of-province clients will be negotiated prior to signing a contract but in most cases will be double those quoted above.
Engineering services and technical consultation
Section scientists or engineers may provide these services. The charges relate to the time spent on a contracted project and can apply to work done at the facility or at the client’s facility.
This refers to the use of the laboratory for product development. Clients may use the facility on their own, or with assistance from a branch scientist or engineer (note the difference in fees).
Pilot plant development
This refers to the use of the BPIC facility for the commercialization of products under development, or the production of products for testing or marketing purposes. Included in this fee is a technologist who will assist you with equipment use.
This refers to the use of BPIC for a specified period of time beyond the developmental period. Clients may contract the use of the pilot plant to manufacture their products for the market while their own facilities are being upgraded or constructed. The daily fee will depend on the complexity of the process and the amount and type of space being used. All costs related to ingredients, manufacturing, packaging and shipment of products produced in the pilot plant, and cleaning by a third-party contractor are the responsibility of the client.
Fees are charged to recover the cost of pilot plant cleaning services to meet building requirements.
Handling and storage
Storage of finished products in a controlled temperature environment and of dry goods is limited by the availability of space. Fees will be applied only when excessive amounts or lengths of storage occur.
Services and equipment
Value-added fractionation and NNHP program
The Value-added Fractionation and 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.
|High temperature/pressure reactions||Contact for details|
|Pressurized extraction||0.5 to 2 litres (lab scale)|
|Essential oil extraction||2 litres (lab scale) to 30 litres (BPIC)|
|Thermo-combustion protein analysis||LECO FP-628|
|Low/medium pressure chromatography||Contact for details|
|Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography||Dionex UltiMate 3000 HPLC with IR, UV and ELSD detectors|
|Membrane filtration||Tubular and spiral membranes (MF, UF, NF and RO)|
|Near-infrared spectroscopy||Contact for details|
|Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy||Contact for details|
|Cosmetic and NNHP formulation||Fully-stocked laboratory for formulation development|
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.
Pilot scale wet processing
|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|
|Pressurized extraction||100 and 200L vessels (BPIC)|
|Membrane filtration||Tubular and spiral membranes up to 1,000L/hr depending on the membranes used (NF, UF, NF and RO)|
|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 capcity of 24 Cu. ft and max. temp of 350oC|
|Spray drying||20 to 60 kg per hour (BPIC)|
Clean room processing
|Batch processing||20 to 2,000 litres|
|Wax melting and hot filling||400 litres|
|Automated bottle, jar and tube labelling||Contact for details|
|Packaging||Bottles and jars from 15 mL to 4,000 mL; tubes from 60 to 250 mL|
|Sample filler||Up to 50 mL|
|Piston filler||50 to 4,000 mL|
|Bottle capping tube sealing||Contact for details|
|Product coder||Contact for details|
Biomaterial development and characterization
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Biomaterial 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.
|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|
- Bio-industrial Opportunities Section (PDF, 186 KB)
- Operations and Facilities Unit Fact Sheet (PDF, 111 KB)
- Fee Schedule (PDF, 75 KB)
- Application for Technical Assistance
Connect with the Bio-industrial Opportunities Section:
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Bio-industrial Opportunities Section
O.S. Longman Building
4th Floor, 6909 116 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T6H 4P2