Professor Tom Baker (University of Ottawa) and Jacques Gascon of HDJS Gascon Ltd. Lefaivre, Ontario
Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences
The University of Ottawa is helping Canada become a leader in sustainable energy.
Professor Tom Baker recently partnered with Jacques Gascon, of HDJS Gascon Limited, a local transport company that specializes in excavation and trucking services. The company is storing large quantities of pulp and paper mill biomass, and Professor Baker and his team are seeking ways to make the most of this organic waste product. With the help of two students from Collège La Cité, the scientists are evaluating the economic feasibility of extracting ethyl levulinate, a biodiesel fuel additive, from the sludge. If their findings are positive, they will move forward with optimizing the process, thanks to additional financial support from HDJS Gascon Limited and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. This project also supports uOttawa's Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation (CCRI); a centre renowned for its numerous contributions to molecular and environmental sciences, a strategic area of development in research for the University of Ottawa.
This research is vitally important to Ontario and Canada since it seeks to maximize value from natural resources, one of the goals of sustainable chemistry. Furthermore, if the researchers find a feasible process, the resulting biodiesel fuel additive could replace chemicals currently derived from fossil fuels. Not only could this result in cheaper fuel prices for Canadians, it would be a step towards a more sustainable future.