Alberta Biomaterials: Projects

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Alberta Biomaterial Initiative Projects, Tools and Resources

Industrial Hemp

Unleashing the Value of Industrial Hemp Program
Unleashing the Value of Industrial Hemp Program builds on progress made through a past major investment by the Government of Alberta, $9M Alberta Biomaterials Development Centre (ABDC), a former virtual entity, for both agriculture and forestry bio-resources. It drew upon a network of resources from participating ministries and agencies responsible for agriculture, forestry, economic development and innovation.

Alberta Biomaterials Initiative, the current industrial hemp program, “Unleashing the Value of Industrial Hemp”, focuses on 5 key areas of development, which will support companies along the full fibre supply chain-from field to finished product:
  • Crop production
  • Commercial decortication
  • Fibre characterization
  • Market access
  • Manufacturing clusters
Industrial Hemp Seed Production Costs and Returns in Alberta, 2015
Agriculture and Forestry Ministry (Alberta Biomaterials Initiative Unit, Economics and Competitiveness Branch with membership assistance from Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance) conducted a study with representation of producers in the various targeted dryland segments of Alberta (north, central, south & irrigated-southern Alberta) to provide our emerging industry with benchmark data.

This report provides 2015 estimated cost of production and returns for dryland and irrigated hemp seed grown in Alberta. Please keep in mind this is production costs for hemp seed only, not fibre. As the industry grows and we have access to more hemp producers, we will look at doing it again.

Industrial Hemp Enterprise Agdex 154/830-1
Low prices of major commodity crops often prompt farmers to diversify their cropping options. These conditions have resulted in a recent influx of new industrial hemp producers. In the past five years, the national acreage of industrial hemp has grown about 25 per cent annually in Canada.

New, emerging opportunities related to fibre utilization for a diversity of industrial applications are expected to continue to create demand for more hemp feedstock in Alberta. Efforts to build whole hemp crop value chains, for both food and fibre, are underway in Alberta.

Industrial Hemp Enterprise, is an overall industrial hemp document looking at regulatory, marketing, growing, harvesting and economics.

Industrial Hemp Harvest and Storage
Document outlining grower, processor and research experiences on the Prairies which will help guide harvest and storage practices to ensure the strict quality requirements for food and fibre production.

It also includes three videos: 
Hemp Production – Pre- Harvest and Harvest | 4:25 minutes
Hemp Production – Harvesting Fibre | 0:56 minutes
Hemp Production – Harvest Considerations | 3:21 minutes

Hemp Production eGuide
Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) is a national organization that promotes Canadian hemp and hemp products globally. Members include; farmers, processors, manufacturers, researchers, entrepreneurs and marketers.

Alberta Biomaterials Initiative, Agriculture & Forestry and InnoTech Alberta collaborated with Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) to produce the Hemp Production eGuide designed to support experienced producers with industrial hemp production. The eGuide covers the Role of Health Canada in Hemp, Production, Harvest Management, Storage, Marketing, Fibre Production and Cost of Production.

Market Access – Meeting Customer Requirements
This interactive market resource was developed to assist a company to properly interpret the requirements and deliverables in a contract, regulations or standard and apply the applicable protocols and procedures into their operations to enable them to consistently meet them. The intended outcome is to help companies avoid costly penalties and maintain access to markets with defined auditable requirements.

See Meeting Customer Requirements if you are a processor or producer wanting to enter a new market. Are you uncertain about whether you can meet regulations and standards?

Use this new online resource to help you:
  • Evaluate whether your business is ready to access a new market
  • Take the necessary steps to meet the regulations and standards
  • Maintain your system through an internal audit
  • Demonstrate that you are meeting requirements through an external audit.
  • The resource is designed in a way that allows you to choose any particular section. You do not have to go from start to finish. If you can’t finish it in one sitting, no problem, you can resume where you left off.
The e-resource can be downloaded on your computer or tablet - Meeting Customer Requirements.

A Tutorial on Alberta’s Hemp Food, Beverage and Biomaterial Manufacturing Opportunities
The Alberta hemp industry tutorial and business calculator package looks at production, processing and manufacturing opportunities for industrial hemp in Alberta. It provides an overview of the hemp industry and its opportunities for those considering hemp value propositions in our province. The calculator provides a financial decision making and risk mitigation tool for entrepreneur and communities looking at moving forward with hemp food, beverage and biomaterial processing and manufacturing ventures. An excel calculator is included as a guide to describe the approximate capital and operating cost of facilities processing hemp seed or fiber; it is not an in-depth study for a specific project but an initial guide when looking into a project. If you are interested in this extension tool, please e-mail

Sustainable Packaging

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) along with partners at the University of Alberta and Alberta Innovates are working with Alberta industry to look for local and international solutions to commercialize in Alberta. Food and value added agriculture production is a driver of our economy and there are many opportunities to work with industry. AF is working with several industry clients who want to explore renewable materials (organic wastes, hemp, cereal and wood residues) to design better, smarter, cleaner products which do less harm and have a lighter environmental footprint.
Packaging Market Segments

Food & Beverage

  • Food service (single use tableware, food use and packaging, paper plates, cups) (easier to enter food service market)
  • Food grade packaging (Retail, grocery, drugs, wholesale banners, food service operator channels)
Personal Care
  • Cosmetic packaging (in particular for natural and organic) cosmetics
  • Personal and homecare packaging
Health Care
  • Hospital packaging and supplies, medical devices packaging, pharmaceuticals packaging
Industrial Goods
  • Packaging used to wrap, ship or transport a specific product
  • Consumer goods and retail packaging
Equipment Required:
  • Multiple Packaging Units - Accumulators, cap applicators, conveyors, crate packers, film wrappers, line controllers, straw applicators.
Technology in Alberta:
  • Biopolymer-based nanostructured materials
  • Converting fats and oils into renewable materials and chemicals
  • Bioresins – epoxy resins from plants oils and biobased hardeners from flax/hemp straw/wood
  • Textile Business Directory and Retail Demand Study
The project is intended to connect the final step from production and processing of hemp and flax fibres with the companies that have interest in producing, designing and assembling garments made from natural and synthetic fibre blends. This study will create a business directory of the Canadian companies that could participate in developing a complete supply chain from producing hemp and flax based yarns and fabrics to garment designing, testing and prototyping and identify retail apparel and distribution companies and characterize their hemp and flax based garment applications and performance requirements. If you are interested in this extension tool, please e-mail

Green Building
Alberta is rich in agriculture and there are many opportunities to develop building materials from agriculture based products or by-products. In order for these materials to successfully enter the building products market, manufacturers need to be aware of the growth and impact of green building certification programs in the construction industry and the material compliance requirements of these programs.

Case Study: Developing a Green Building Standard Compliant Product
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry commissioned this case study to evaluate the most prevalent green building certification programs and create an analysis tool for bio-based material manufacturers to understand what types of green building material compliance requirements need to be met for their products to be more appealing to specifiers.

The study also identifies current market barriers, beyond compliance challenges, and proposes next steps in effectively marketing compliant sustainable products to building owners, design professionals, and construction teams.

The study and analysis tool do not attempt to cover every aspect of all sustainable building material development, compliance and market penetration. They do bring as much information together as possible to guide the decision-making process. Bio-based material manufacturers will be able to input a product and evaluate the product’s components against regulatory criteria for a number of standards specific to sustainability. Once the tool is populated, product manufacturers will understand what standards are applicable to their product and the next steps required to meet regulatory compliance.

If you are interested in this extension tool, please e-mail

Alberta Biomass Market Demand Study (in the works)
Given its abundance of biomass resources, Alberta has the opportunity to grow a competitive, diversified bio industrial sector. While some of this biomass is currently being utilized in the forestry, agriculture, and pulp and paper industries, there is potential for the utilization rate, and the value created, to be increased. Considerable resources have been invested in documenting Alberta’s biomass resources (BRIMS), and in biomass conversion technologies (Alberta Innovates-Energy and Environment Solutions and Biorefining Conversions Network).

This project will provide a better understanding of the opportunities for the bio industrial industry in Alberta, analyzing Alberta’s potential within the bio industrial sector based on global demand of products, market size, industry trends and technology advancements. This will be achieved through a review of existing Alberta biomass reports, thorough research of the global bio industrial sector and identification of areas where Alberta is able to have a competitive advantage.

For more information on the biomaterials initiative projects contact: Lori-Jo Graham or Patti Breland with Alberta Agriculture & Forestry, Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Lori-Jo Graham.
This document is maintained by Rita Splawinski.
This information published to the web on July 19, 2017.
Last Reviewed/Revised on September 7, 2017.