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Phase II Background

Phase II of BioFuelNet (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2017)

Background

BioFuelNet has been funded for 5 years, from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2017. In the fall of 2012, BioFuelNet (BFN) funded 64 projects for a period of 30 months ending March 31, 2015; this period is now being referred to as Phase I. Phase II will cover the period of April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017. Phase I of BFN has been structured around four research themes: Feedstock, Conversion, Utilization and SEES. To ensure a multi-disciplinary approach, projects have been structured around regional platforms that focus on either biochemical or thermochemical pathways; the West and Prairie platforms focussed on biochemical routes, while Central and East focussed on thermochemical routes. BFN’s 64 Phase I projects are distributed as follows:

  West Prairie Central East
Feedstock 2 8 2 4
Conversion 8 4 10 9
Utilization 0 4 3 0
SEES 4 4 2 0

During Phase I BFN has established its governance structure and begun the process of establishing a community of Network Investigators, Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP, who are mainly students and PDFs) and partner organizations. A significant amount of research has been conducted, resulting in over 200 publications, over 300 students trained and several patents filed.

Among stakeholders such as industry and government agencies, BFN is increasingly recognized as the best point of contact for biofuel questions and initiatives of a national and international scope. For many BFN members and outside parties, it is clear that BFN has the potential to have a tangible impact on Canadian biofuels not only through its research investments, but also through public outreach, networking events, training and education, and providing evidence to support policy.

As with any new organization, there have been lessons learned through the early phases of operation, and Phase II offers an opportunity for BFN to optimize its research structure, improve interactions with partners, and more effectively work towards the goal of a thriving advanced biofuel industry in Canada. If Phase II is successful and BFN meets or exceeds the expectations of the Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) monitoring committee, BFN’s funding could be renewed through 2022 and beyond.

Objectives of BFN’s Phase II restructuring

1. Build on Phase I progress towards achieving BFN’s vision and mission.
2. Become more focussed and reduce the number of projects. Projects should focus on a small number of priority areas.
3. Be more specific in addressing barriers, expanding beyond technical research if necessary.
4. Emphasize research areas of particular importance to Canada. What are Canada’s natural advantages, and how can BFN mobilize these?
5. Ensure BFN’s program is informed by and aligned with the broad priorities of government and industry.