Bio-Economy and Climate Mitigation

The Bio-Economy and Climate Mitigation

Session runs Friday, Sept. 29th from 01:00 to 2:30 p.m., Bartley Residence Conference Room

Panelists – Sudip Rakshit – Lakehead University (Moderator), Warren Mabee – Queens University; Colin Kelly – Confederation College, Thunder Bay; David Johnson; Scott Wiebe – Ont. Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Panelist Bios…

There has been a dramatic increase in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and accumulation with the advent of the industrial revolution. This is because of the dramatic increase in the use of fossil based resources for transportation, energy and thousands of products we use in our daily life. The perceived finite nature of  such resources, fluctuating prices as a result of global geo-politics, dependence on oil imports and availability of local renewable biomass are some of the reasons for the focus on biorefining processes. However, use of renewable woody biomass, agricultural residues and by-products of many industries is also a direct way to reduce GHG gas levels in the atmosphere and decrease global warming. While many populations, especially in the developing world,  have already started adopting adaptation strategies to face the effects of climate change, simultaneous measures to mitigate the increase in GHG accumulation is very important.

There are considerable ongoing efforts to develop the bio-based economy in order to produce cleaner energy and green chemicals. First generation bio-fuels from starch and sucrose sugar based resources are in place in various parts of the world. The use of woody biomass for such purposes, the second and third generation bio-fuels, have a many advantages. They do not have effects on food costs and security and are more abundantly available than agricultural products. However, even though technology is available to produce them, the challenge of producing them competitively as compared to fossil resources remains a challenge.  For the development of the bio-economy, it will be important to support R & D efforts to develop innovative methods that can overcome the constraints associated with using new substrates. Integration of such methods into existing industries will help the energy transitions and policy decisions which have to be taken to facilitate development of such industries.