Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, September 30, 2013

 

Bio-science innovators Linnaeus Plant Sciences and Soy 20/20 today begin a new phase in development of Camelina sativa as an environmentally sustainable high-value oilseed crop, with key support from the Government of Canada.

Camelina, a drought-tolerant non-food industrial oilseed, can be used in the manufacture of a range of products beyond fuel, including green lubricants and polymers.

This new, five-year, $5-million initiative builds on established efforts to improve agronomic traits in Camelina - herbicide resistance, yield and disease resistance - as well as increasing the value of Camelina oil and co-products for industrial uses.

Canadian farmers will benefit as the project aims to deliver maximum economic value from Camelina and builds the framework for an active and vibrant Camelina growing industry.

"It's been almost 50 years since Baldur Stefansson's initial breakthrough development of low-acid Rapeseed-Canola at The University of Manitoba," said Jack Grushcow, President and CEO of Saskatoon-based Linnaeus Plant Sciences. "Camelina sativa represents just this type of game-changing opportunity."

Grushcow said Camelina has the potential to become the preferred oilseed platform crop for the production of high-value industrial fatty acids. These new oils represent alternatives to current petrochemicals and reduce the refining expense and pollution that often accompanies them.

Camelina is a non-food, drought tolerant oilseed crop that can be grown with low inputs on marginal land while providing valuable crop rotation benefits. Camelina provides high value renewable oils that can be used to produce next-generation green lubricants and polymers, with a lower CO2 footprint than petroleum-derived products. These new applications have value well beyond bio-fuel and will provide a new source of revenue at the farm gate.

"We intend to deliver the world's first non-food oilseed crop, optimized for industrial applications and with proven environmental benefits, catalyzing a new sector in oilseed agriculture," said Grushcow.

Linnaeus Plant Sciences and Soy 20/20 will partner to create a Camelina grower value chain by distributing valuable agronomic data to potential growers - set the groundwork for a new industry association and raise public awareness for the crop and its' benefits.

"Soy 20/20 is particularly pleased to continue our close working relationship with Linnaeus Plant Sciences," said Jeff Schmalz, CEO of Soy 20/20. "New agriculture crops such as Camelina will make a compelling addition to the portfolio of purpose-grown soybean varieties that we are currently helping commercialize in Canada. These kinds of projects benefit the environment and reduce our dependency on petroleum, while generating new income opportunities for Canadian farmers."

The initiative includes a maximum contribution from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) of $3.7 million with the balance of financial support coming from industry.

The partners expressed appreciation to AAFC Minister Gerry Ritz for key support via the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program, a five-year initiative of up to $698 million designed to assist research, development, commercialization, and adoption of innovative products, technologies and services in Canadian agriculture.