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Agrimarketing : July August 2008
18 AgriMarketing ¦ July/August 2008 O n May 22, 2008, members of CAMA Ontario were addressed by the University of Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) as they discussed the future of the automotive industry and the opportunities this is present- ing members of the agribusiness community. Ontario is North America’s largest automotive assembly region, followed by Michigan and Ohio. The importance of this industry to the province and its economy has led the University of Waterloo , Canada’s largest engineering school, to help Tier I , II, and III automotive parts companies research new and innova- tive parts and manufacturing processes. One project of major significance at WatCAR is the Ontario BioCar Initiative, a $6M joint venture of researchers at the Universities of Guelph , Toronto, Waterloo and Windsor . BioCar was established to research new ways to bring products from fields and forests to the highway, with a focus on replacing petroleum- based products with biochemical’s and high content bio-fibre materials. McKenzie states, “With the changes in people’s sensitivity to the environment, the automobile indus- try is looking for new and innovative ways to not only create automobiles, but to differentiate themselves from their competition.” Dr. Leonardo Simon , a Chemical Engineering Professor at Waterloo, and key researcher in the BioCar pro- ject says, “The outcomes of our research will have a significantly positive effect on the profitability of Ontario farming and forestry indus- tries, and will create a sustainable, competitive edge in the Ontario automotive value chain.” WHEAT STRAW Some of Dr. Simon’s work includes the use of wheat-straw and other Ontario crops to create biobased products that can be readily incorpo- rated into the current automotive plastics industry. He says, “We need plants that contain the right properties and farmers to grow them. Equipment needs to be designed to properly harvest the parts of the plant required and grain companies to cre- ate markets for them. We also need mills capable of processing this material into a consistent form that can be delivered efficiently to manu- facturing facilities.” Strategic activities in this area will position the agribusiness stake- holders as sustainable suppliers for the automotive sector. McKenzie says, “Waterloo is unique among universities in North America because of its creator- owned intellectual property policy. Inventions resulting from research at Waterloo are owned by the researcher, not the university, mean- ing the resulting intellectual prop- erty remains between the parties involved in the research project.” Agribusiness research projects in this emerging segment of automo- tive related research have the ability to leverage significant amounts provincial and federal funding. Matching grant programs from both levels of government towards research, combined with R&D tax credits creates a very attractive cli- mate for research. Information on WatCAR can be found at: http://watcar.uwaterloo.ca/. Overview of BioCar can be found at: www.bioproductsatguelph/project/ biocar.html. To contact Dr. Simon: 519/888-4567 ext. 33301 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. AM ONTARIO NEWS CAMA UPDATE COVERING WESTERN CANADA Cory Bourdeaud’hui p: 204.954.1414 email@example.com PRACTICAL PRODUCTION TIPS FOR THE PRAIRIE FARMER WWW.GRAINEWS.CA Dr. Leonardo Simon discussing the Ontario BioCar Initiative.
CAMA 2008 Canada