U of S-SRC team wins Award of Innovation for greenhouse gas-to-fuel technology

A team of researchers from the U of S have been awarded the 2011 Innovation Place-U of S Industry Liaison Office (ILO) Award of Innovation for creating technology to help transform greenhouse gases into gasoline and other fuels.

Hui Wang, Ajay Dalai, and Jianguo (Jack) Zhang from the College of Engineering, have developed a catalyst used to transform carbon dioxide and methane - both potent greenhouse gases - into synthesis gas, or syngas, a basic feedstock for producing gasoline and other fuels.

"This technology is a real game changer in that it allows us to simultaneously address the problem of greenhouse gas as well as the need for energy," said Glen Schuler, managing director of the U of S ILO.
Co-sponsored by Innovation Place and the U of S ILO, the Award of Innovation honours U of S researchers who are commercializing their technologies. The winners were announced at the Celebrate Success Business Awards Gala in Saskatoon May 18th.

"Sponsoring this award is another opportunity for Innovation Place to support the growth of Saskatchewan's technology sector," said Austin Beggs, Vice President Corporate Relations at Innovation Place. "We are delighted to see university researchers working so closely with researchers here at Innovation Place to come up with a technology that could have a significant impact on our society."

Last December, the ILO brokered a deal to licence the catalyst technology to California-based Carbon Sciences Inc. The catalyst eliminates a major development hurdle for the company, which was stymied by problems such as carbon deposits that fouled their own catalysts.

Meanwhile, after a decade of effort, the U of S-SRC team had developed a solution: a catalyst that offers high conversion rates with no significant carbon build-up. This allows it to remain active over long periods of time – more than 2,000 hours in bench top tests. The team's research is funded through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Two other nominations were considered for this year's Award of Innovation:

Susantha Gomis from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and Suresh Tikoo from the School of Public Health and Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) have developed a hepatitis vaccine for broiler chickens. The vaccine was co-invented with Davor Ojkic from the University of Guelph. Inclusion body hepatitis is a serious problem for the poultry industry, killing between 10 and 30 per cent of infected flocks. The new vaccine is administered to the parent birds, who then transfer their immunity to the disease to their chicks. The ILO is working to license this technology to several companies for use in Canada and the United States.

Brian Rossnagel, one of Canada's best known crop scientists and a world expert in oat and barley genetics, was also nominated for the Award of Innovation. Based at the U of S Crop Development Centre (CDC), he is responsible for more than 90 new cultivars, several of which are the preferred varieties for western Canadian farmers. Sown on millions of acres every year, these varieties have generated more than $3 million in royalties for the CDC to date.

Unique varieties include the first hull-less barley, the world's first high oil, low lignin hull feed oat, and a low-phytate barley which can help reduce environmental impact of high intensity hog operations.

Selection criteria for the Award of Innovation include innovation, novelty and potential commercial impact. The
selection committee includes representatives from Innovation Place and the U of S.

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