Alberta, federal and other funding partners have invested in new product development capacity at TerraVerdae Bioworks Inc. for fully biodegradable, high-performance bioplastics.
With this investment, TerraVerdae, headquartered in Edmonton, AB, now has enhanced in-house product development expertise and equipment for production of industrial bioplastics used in the agricultural, forestry, food packaging, adhesives and personal-care markets. Bioplastics offer a sustainable path forward for product manufacturers and help address the global build-up of plastic trash on land and in water.
The company has received $4.5 million – from Alberta Innovates, Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program (CGP), advisory services and research and development funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), and other investors – to expand its product development facilities in Edmonton. The company also fine-tuned its unique capacity to custom-design bioplastic formulations for strength, elasticity, impact resistance and more.
“As the world works to contain and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we work together to achieve our goal of building a safe and resilient clean energy future for Canadians. We are supporting local businesses and investing in projects like TerraVerdae’s to position Canada as a leader in green innovation and sustainability. Creating less pollution and more jobs at a time when it is needed most,” said Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.
“Alberta companies continue to show they are resourceful and possess a wealth of expertise and talent that crosses multiple sectors. The commercialization of TerraVerdae’s new products will benefit the well-being of our communities and support business growth moving forward. Innovation will continue to be a driver of our government’s economic recovery package in a post-COVID world,” added Tanya Fir, Alberta Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.
TerraVerdae’s proprietary polymer technology (polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA) is carbon-neutral and uses renewable carbon feedstock such as municipal and forestry waste or agricultural residues. The company’s product focus is on films and coatings, thermoplastic moldings, adhesives and specialty PHAs.
“Besides forestry and agricultural plastics, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving retail demand for single-use plastics like grocery bags to reduce the risk of community transmission. Bioplastics convert renewable carbon sources into must-have products that help reduce waste plastic contamination; that’s a concrete example of innovation,” commented Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates.
One product is a bioplastic pouch for tree seedlings that will be consumed by soil microbes and disappear within several months of planting in the forest. TerraVerdae plans to test launch the bioplastic pouches later this year for commercial use by foresters, to be followed by other bioplastic products for use in other sectors.
“Each year the forest industry plants millions of tree seedlings. With Arbor Day taking place in many jurisdictions from late April to early May, we think this is a great time to announce this major funding from Alberta Innovates, Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council of Canada, along with private investors in our global network. We have achieved major milestones in the last year, including a significant expansion of our technical resources and capabilities, and increased partnerships for technology access, development and commercialization,” said William Bardosh, CEO and founder, TerraVerdae Bioworks Inc.