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November 30, 2011

Olds College Receives $100,000 from NSERC

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The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced the 35 projects selected for funding on November 25.  Of those selected, Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) Bioenergy Research Scientist, Tanya McDonald was awarded a total of $100,000.

“NSERC ARD grants are enabling small and medium sized companies that often experience a limited research budget to gain access to the unique research facilities and expertise within Olds College,” says Tanya.

OCCI will receive:
$25,000 for the growth and optimization of autotrophic-to-heterotrophic microalgae for lipid production using low cost carbon sources project.  “Algae has significant potential as the feedstock of the future for biofuels,” Tanya explains, “but there are challenges associated with large scale production, particularly in cold climates. Our industry partner CanHarvest Bioenergy Inc. recognizes this potential and is working with Olds College to overcome these challenges and assess the viability of their business plan.”

$25,000 for the evaluation of manure treatment system for livestock operations.  This project “involves the analysis of samples collected at various hog barns to verify the performance of the Livestock Water Recycling (LWR) technology. The findings will be valuable to livestock producers who are searching for odor and waste management options that are both economically and environmentally sustainable.”

$25,000 for the assessment of the potential of compost tea to enhance the growth of cucumbers which will see Overton Environmental Enterprises Inc. partnered with Olds College “to confirm whether synthetic fertilizers can be reduced or replaced by compost tea in hydroponic vegetable production.”

$25,000 for an assessment of Alfalfa Green in soil reclamation.   “With the number of oil wells and tailings ponds in Alberta,” says Tanya, “there will be a large market for organic products like the one produced by Western Alfalfa Milling that may accelerate the clean-up of soils contaminated by hydrocarbons, and assisting rural entrepreneurs to identify new markets for agricultural products is a key priority for Olds College.”

Dr. Abimbola Aibiola, Director of Applied Research and Lead Scientist,  offers his congratulations and says that “not only are these grants recognition of the quality of work of Tanya and her OCCI team, they are testaments to the leadership role of Olds College in providing research and development support to industry, and our commitment to excellence.”

These grants “support and stimulate new partnerships with industry,” says Tanya, and “all of the projects have a sustainable agriculture or environment focus. The grants also allow faculty and staff to become engaged in applied research and transfer the findings to the classroom for other learners to benefit from.”

Read the original news release on Olds College’s website.


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