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Biotech company Genecis has secured US$6 million in funding from Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen). This capital will go towards enabling the company to develop, scale, and integrate a novel biotech platform to upcycle organic waste into sustainable bioplastics.
Organic waste as a solution
Ontario-based Genecis received collaborative funding from industry-led organization NGen, which is responsible for Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster.
Genecis will join forces with StormFisher, a manufacturer of organic waste and clean energy solutions on a project where the duo will integrate a demonstration-scale technology unit with an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. This plant will transform organic waste feedstock into PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) bioplastics. The feedstock will include discarded packaged food and waste from the municipals’ green bins.
After the waste is prepared for bioreactor fermentation, the process uses bacteria licensed by the company converting it into PHAs created by its patented process. These are then used to create commercial products.
After the product is discarded, it degrades into the soil providing nutrients for future crops. Genecis’ PHA plastics, for instance, the bottle made from this process takes one year to degrade compared to petroleum-derived plastics that can take anywhere between 100-1000 years.
The end result is a step forward by Genecis to help companies ditch the use of petroleum-made plastics. The project will be conducted at the StormFisher Resource Recovery Centre in Drumbo, Ontario.
“Projects such as this demonstrate that Canadian businesses can develop innovative and ground-breaking technologies if they have access to the proper support and resources,” minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, said in a statement. “This investment allows our country’s businesses to capitalize on Canada’s strengths in the manufacturing sector and develop innovative solutions to environmental problems, which will have a positive impact across the country and around the world.”
Canadian manufacturers to benefit
CEO of NGen, Jayson Myers said that this project reinforces NGen’s commitment to support advanced manufacturing solutions. “The Genecis project uses advanced manufacturing technologies to fundamentally transform an existing process, providing Canadian manufacturers with access to high value materials, creating a competitive advantage in the green economy, and developing a waste solution that addresses a global environmental issue.”
NGen supports companies and solutions that work towards building advanced manufacturing capabilities in Canada for the manufacturers in the country. To date, NGen has approved 105 projects and invested US$181.2 million under Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative.
This investment allows our country’s businesses to capitalize on Canada’s strengths in the manufacturing sector and develop innovative solutions to environmental problems, which will have a positive impact across the country and around the worldFrançois-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Genecis’ platform capitalises on the existing infrastructure and its first product line of PHA resins will offer manufacturers high-value materials for packaging, agricultural plastics, medical plastics, and additive manufacturing filaments.
“NGen’s financial commitment to our consortium demonstrates the immense impact our technology can have at-scale in the advanced manufacturing sector,” said Luna Yu, CEO of Genecis. “Our carbon conversion platform will produce materials of the future domestically, create highly skilled local jobs, and accelerate the world’s transition towards a circular economy. Our vision of producing sustainable materials from organic waste is made possible through the support of organizations such as NGen. We are thrilled to have the backing of NGen and their team of industry experts as we push the boundaries of biotechnology to create transformational impact.”
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Canada working for environmental sustainability
Our carbon conversion platform will produce materials of the future domestically, create highly skilled local jobs, and accelerate the world’s transition towards a circular economyLuna Yu, CEO of Genecis
The capital raised will help the company produce large quantities of these bioplastics and will have economic and environmental value for the organic waste and plastic sectors. If the technology is commercialized, it will cement Canada’s position as a leader in biomanufacturing, and at the same time, the country will meet its goals for environmental sustainability.
StormFisher owner and VP Brandon Moffat, said the company is excited about the partnership opportunities with Genecis. “Upcycling food & organic waste to provide valuable products like RNG and now PHA resins demonstrate the importance and effectiveness of circular projects like these,” Moffat said. “We have partnered with earlier stage cleantech companies like Genecis in the past and have found it very rewarding for us. As cleantech entrepreneurs ourselves, we had historically found that it can be very challenging finding an industrial partner to allow for companies to scale so we’re glad that we can facilitate this demonstration project.”
Lead image courtesy of Genecis.