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At the Advanced Energy Research Facility (AERF), university, government and industry researchers are working to find more efficient ways to convert waste into clean sources of energy and green bioproducts.

"AERF is a state-of-the-art plug-and-play facility," says Dr. Eddy Isaacs, CEO of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES). "This means technology developers can come and test their processes in this facility in real time and with actual feedstocks."

The $11-million facility was envisioned by and jointly funded through a partnership between AI-EES and the City of Edmonton, who wanted to attract researchers working on novel technologies that could benefit Alberta and help companies accelerate the commercial deployment of their technologies and processes.

“AERF is a state-of-the-art plug-and-play facility. This means technology developers can come and test their processes in this facility in real time and with actual feedstocks.”
Dr. Eddy Isaacs is CEO of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions

"It was our hope that AERF would foster collaborative research projects among industry, universities and national and international R&D organizations," says Christian Felske, general supervisor of engineering innovation at the City of Edmonton. "To date, AERF has been home to eight successful research projects."

Companies are working to develop cost-effective technologies for converting forest biomass and waste from agriculture, construction or municipalities into clean biofuels and bioproducts. Being able to test products and processes at AERF reduces technology development costs, risks and time.

For example, Enerkem – led by 2012 Clean16 honouree Vincent Chornet – is seeking ways to enhance biofuel production from waste biomass at AERF, and will then implement these technologies and products at its commercial biofuels facility at the same location. A collaboration between the City of Edmonton and the American Chemistry Council is evaluating how increased plastics in the feedstock affect the yield of biofuels and other value-added products.

Companies can lease space from AERF and make full use of the facility's waste feedstock preparation system (shredding, air classification, ferrous and non-ferrous metals separation) and a bench-scale gas-to-liquids catalytic research laboratory.

The facility has also become a valuable training ground for the clean energy sector, giving students the opportunity to work alongside highly qualified personnel and gain hands-on research experience in this in-demand and growing area.

This content was produced by Randall Anthony Communications, in partnership with The Globe and Mail's advertising department. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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