Types of Bioproducts
Biochemicals are chemicals produced from bio-based inputs to supplement petroleum based inputs. Canada's agricultural sector has already been producing feedstocks for the industrial biochemical markets. Corn grain products, flax oil, and soy oil are used for both food ingredient and chemical markets. For example, sugar beets are being used to produce the platform chemical aspartic acid in Taber, Alberta, and Sarnia, Ontario has been selected as the home of Canada's first corn to biosuccinic acid plant.
Biomaterials are processed or engineered materials that are fully or partly derived from biomass. Examples of biomaterials include soy-based foam, composites incorporating agricultural or wood fibres, and bioplastics. Biomaterials are already being used by major auto manufacturers in various ways, including: bioplastics used in the production of vehicle interiors and biofoams used in car seats.
Biofuels are fuels obtained by converting biomass, such as corn or canola and in the future crop residues, into liquid or gaseous fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, biogas and hydrogen. The term commonly refers to fuels such as ethanol that are used largely for transportation but also includes biobased jet fuels that are under development.
The Government of Canada's Renewable Fuels Strategy was announced in 2006 by the Ministers of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Natural Resources, and Environment. The Strategy's key policy instruments included programs to support farmer participation in the industry, production incentives, support for next generation technologies and regulations setting minimum content requirements. Canada's Renewable Fuels Regulations include 5% renewable content in the gasoline pool (for example ethanol), effective December 2010, and 2% renewable content in the diesel fuel and heating oil pool (with some exceptions), effective July, 2011.
Canada's Renewable Fuels Strategy has been responsible for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from fuel use; providing new market opportunities for agricultural producers and rural communities; supporting the growth of a domestic biofuels industry; and accelerating the commercialization of new biofuel technologies.
Global biofuel production is currently dominated by conventional ethanol derived from food crops such as corn and sugar cane, and by biodiesel made from fats and waste greases, and vegetable oils. However, advanced biofuels and their co-products, made from lignocellulosic biomass obtained from wood, municipal and agricultural waste, and crop residues, are emerging and are reaching the production stage and commercial deployment in a number of countries.
Bioenergy refers to the conversion of biomass into heat and power, replacing traditional methods such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels. Bioenergy can be produced in several ways. In the case of agriculture, the most common form is heat and power resulting from the combustion of biogas produced through anaerobic digestion, and to a smaller extent, the direct combustion of biomass pellets. Agri-food processing waste and livestock manure are the main inputs for biogas production. The heat and power is generally used to meet internal energy needs and, where provincial policies exist, is often sold to electric utilities and natural gas companies.
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