TechTalk Blog
New Bioenergy Strategy Advances Innovation

The BC Bioenergy Strategy will create new opportunities for rural communities; spur new investment and innovation; and help British Columbia reach the goal of becoming electricity self-sufficient by 2016, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

“The BC Bioenergy Strategy lays the framework for us to convert more waste into clean energy, helping to ensure we meet future energy demands,” said Campbell. “There is an abundance of bioenergy opportunities, such as using biomass created out of the mountain pine beetle outbreak that can stimulate investment and economic diversification while producing clean energy.”

Within the next decade, the strategy will help the Province achieve targets for electricity self-sufficiency and reliability, zero net greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation projects and increased use of biofuels in diesel and gasoline in B.C.

As part of the strategy, the Province will seek legislative approval for $25 million in funding to establish a provincial Bioenergy Network for greater investment and innovation in B.C. bioenergy projects and technologies. Legislative approval will also be sought for up to $10 million in funding over three years for biodiesel production.

The Bioenergy Network will encourage the development of pilot and demonstration projects with industries and communities in key biomass resource areas. It will support research into socially and environmentally responsible dedicated energy crop production and enhance enzymatic and other biotechnology solutions for biomass-to-energy conversion. It will also advance the development of biofuels, such as cellulosic. The network will strengthen the development of world-class bioenergy research and technology expertise in British Columbia. This will include the creation of at least one academic leadership chair in bioenergy.

“Providing up to $10 million in funding for biodiesel production will bring new opportunities to rural communities,” said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld. “And we will develop one of Canada’s most comprehensive provincial biomass inventories, identifying waste to energy opportunities throughout B.C.” 

B.C. has half of Canada’s entire biomass electricity-generating capacity,” said Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman. “This strategy helps forest-dependent communities and brings opportunity to the agriculture sector as it looks at recovering maximum value from beetle-killed timber, wood wastes, and agricultural residues to generate renewable energy.” 

The BC Bioenergy Strategy includes:

·        $25 million in funding to establish a Bioenergy Network.

·        Up to $10 million over three years for biodiesel production.

·        A goal of meeting 50 per cent or more of B.C.’s renewable fuel requirements by 2020 with biofuels produced in B.C.

·        A goal of establishing at least 10 community energy projects that convert local biomass into energy by 2020.

·        The establishment of one of Canada’s most comprehensive provincial biomass inventories that creates waste-to-energy opportunities.

·        Issuing a two-part Bioenergy Call for Power – the first part will be issued shortly, the second part by July 1, 2008 – focusing on existing biomass inventory in the forest industry and offering opportunities for smaller energy producers with projects that are immediately viable.

Additionally, the bioenergy strategy will help facilitate the closure of beehive burners and divert the waste stream for energy production, increase production and utilization of biofuels including biodiesel and facilitate production of anaerobic digestion bioenergy to address waste management challenges posed by the agricultural industry. The Province will also work with industry to develop new fine particulate standards for industrial boilers to improve air quality.

B.C. leads the country in energy production from biomass. Over 800 megawatts of biomass electricity capacity is installed in the province, enough to power 640,000 households. Pulp and paper mills meet over a third of their electricity needs through cogeneration of electricity and steam on site. In 2007, the B.C. wood pellet industry produced over 900,000 tonnes of wood pellets, of which 90 per cent was exported for thermal power production overseas.

Oak Bay News Reports: UVic Grads Celebrate TeamPages' First Year

Is it football or soccer?

That is one of the many new decisions 10 University of Victoria grads are faced with as their company, TeamPages, goes international.

Mike Tan and Nikolas Laufer-Edel hatched the idea for the web-based athlete resource after missing an intramural playoff game.

The two, then captains, couldn’t find a schedule and didn’t know their team’s ranking, so they decided to make a website which would be a tool for coaches and players.

Tan had no idea the website would grow so quickly, as the company now celebrates its first birthday. The sense of being a business owner hit him in October, when he was able to move the business out of his cramped apartment and into an office on Yates Street.

Now the company has its tentacles in the U.S. and Europe. TeamPages is looking to expand its user count to 30,000 over the next few months.

“I think the toughest thing was just leaving our old jobs and jumping in with two feet,” Tan said.

“Just taking that leap of faith.”

Tan believes there are many opportunities in Victoria for students to build and start their own businesses. Lots of grants and educational programs are available to young entrepreneurs in B.C., he said.

“High schools are also pushing entrepreneurship,” Tan said.

TeamPages was the winning entry among 30 projects submitted in the IDC Challenge, staged by the University of Victoria’s Innovation Development Corporation.

Entering the market down south was a major step. Tan noted the whole ball game in the United States is a lot different than in Canada.

“In the U.S. they love their sports. They spend so much money, so much time on sports, it is a big part of their life compared to Canada where we are a bit more easy going when it comes to sports,” Tan said.

This year Tan hopes TeamPages will start pulling in some of the money he spent to get it to its current stage.  He is excited for overseas business to roll in.

Saanich News Reports: UVic Grads Cash In On Podcasts

Radio is still No. 1 in the car. At home it’s a different story.

Thousands of online podcasts, available on demand, are attracting more and more listeners in this city and across the world.

The problem with having so many podcasts is finding ways to manage your favourite audio files. That’s where two University of Victoria students-turned-entrepreneurs come in.

Rian Bowden, a recent business grad, and Lewis Sobotkiewicz, an engineering student, recently won a gold medal and $15,000 for the business plan for their new venture, DailySplice (formerly known as mPulse).

The accolades came from UVic’s Innovation and Development Corporation (IDC), which aims to help UVic research find its way to commercial markets.

Still in its testing phase, DailySplice wants to be the primary hub for podcasts on the net. The concept is to provide a one-stop shopping site where users can search and download their favourite podcasts. The key is allowing advertisers to reach a wider audience without negotiating with individual podcasters.

“We think the problem with podcasts is they lack structure,” Bowden said. “We’re building structured programs so basically you can build your own radio show using podcasts.”

An hour-long program might contain 10 podcasts with a mix of weather, music, news and ads – specifically targeted to the interests of the listener.

“There are a lot of companies doing podcasts but no one out there is doing customizable podcasts,” said Kirsten Vliet, business development officer for IDC.

“Every day you get content (from DailySplice) based on your preferences and what type of information you want to hear, and we could not find anything else out there or anyone who was doing this.”

The students’ eagerness to ask questions and seek help was what really set them apart to the IDC.

“I saw Rian in our office pretty much weekly,” said Vliet. “Students that are receptive to feedback, we find, are the best entrepreneurs.”

The challenge, says Bowden, is figuring out the emerging field of Internet copyright law. While similar websites that manage blogs haven’t run into any legal challenges, the rules around podcasts have yet to be tested.

Since podcasting is still just a hobby for most, Bowden predicts people are going to love DailySplice for the exposure and revenue it brings them. However, he can’t say how larger, commercial podcasters will react.

On Jan. 7, Bowden and Sobotkiewicz hired two employees. They also moved into IDC’s office space near campus, where they will continue to receive cheap rent and mentorship.

For Bowden, DailySplice is the culmination of a nine-year dream to have his own radio show. In those days he used to set up radio alarm clocks around the house to go off at staggered times and play a variety of programs.


Vigil Health Solutions Announces Closing of Private Placement

Vigil Health Solutions Inc. ("Vigil") is pleased to announce that further to the press release of December 20, 2007 it has closed a private placement financing for gross proceeds of $550,000. Pursuant to the financing, Vigil issued 11,000,000 units, at a price of $0.05 per unit, each unit consisting of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant entitles the holder to acquire one common share at an exercise price of $0.10 per share until January 30, 2010.

The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the private placement to provide additional working capital for business growth and to fund further product development.

The private placement was fully subscribed for by insiders of the company.

Unless permitted under securities legislation and with the prior approval of the TSX Venture Exchange, the common shares and warrant shares cannot be traded until May 31, 2008.

6th Annual BioPartnering North America – February 3-5, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Now in its sixth year, BioPartnering North America (BPN) offers excellent partnering opportunities for lifescience innovators and investors.

Co-hosted by LifeSciences British Columbia, BIOTECanada, and BioAlberta, BPN annually attracts senior business development executives from around the globe. BPN offers a targeted approach to the best lifescience partnering opportunities.

  • Strong Support From the International Life Science Community – BPN offers a focused business development experience that is consistently time-efficient and cost-effective. The high caliber audience in attendance offers outstanding networking opportunities.
    View the list of  2008 attendees.
  • – A unique and powerful set of tools which helps you prepare for the conference. allows you to plan and facilitate the important meetings, creating optimal opportunities for achieving your goals.
    Take a tour now.
  • 78 Company Presentations – Innovative companies will offer multimedia presentations regarding their partnering goals and objectives, and be available for follow-up discussions. BPN presenters represent the new vanguard of emerging technologies coming from the life sciences today.
    View a list of this year's presenters
  • BioPartnering Leadership Sessions & Sponsor Workshops – Twelve leadership sessions and workshops offer a full program of interesting topics to choose from. Panels will address cutting-edge themes of interest in interactive leadership sessions. Leading service providers will also offer 1-hour workshops on unique topics in a highly interactive environment.
    View the program online
  • Outstanding One-to-One Networking Opportunities with Decision Makers – With numerous networking opportunities built into the program, you will be certain to leverage your meetings into deals. BPN provides the most cost-effective way to meet many targeted and relevant decision makers in a short span of time.
Cascadia Region Green Building Council: Breathing Life into Living Buildings

Morning Event              11:30 am – 12:30 pm
The Living Building Challenge presented by Jason F. McLennan, CEO Cascadia Region Green Building Council
Senate Chambers, Room 180, University Centre, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road (Ring Road)
No charge; for best seating, arrive early.

Afternoon Event             4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Introduction and Update on Living Buildings
Jason F. McLennan, CEO Cascadia Region Green Building Council

CIRS: The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability
John Robinson, Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, and the Department
of Geography, UBC presents “CIRS – a living laboratory for sustainable building systems and
technologies – a ‘Living Building’ Targeted Project.”
Dr Robinson is a member of the Climate Action Team, responsible for setting BC’s carbon emissions targets for 2016 and
2020. He is on the board of the Sustainable Cities Foundation, and has been the lead author on the last three reports of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

LEED Canada Initiative
Ian A. Jarvis, President, Enerlife Consulting Inc
Past-Chair, Canada Green Building Council, presents “The LEED® Canada Initiative – The Next
Generation of LEED® Canada”
Mr. Jarvis is a leader in the fields of energy efficiency, green buildings and sustainable communities; he was the founding
chair of the CaGBC and from 1991 – 1999 he was CEO of ROSE Technology Group. He is a member of the National
Advisory Council on Energy Efficiency and the LEED Canada Initiative Steering Committee.

St. Ann’s Academy, Auditorium, 835 Humboldt Street; street parking only.
Cascadia Members: $25.00 | Non-members: $35.00 | Emerging Green Builders and Students: $15.00
Please register online at

Evening Event 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Reception: Network with green leaders in business, development, government and the community. Meet the leaders
and members of the Vancouver Island Branch. Meet our parent chapter CEO, Jason McLennan, and BC Director, Mona

Also in attendance that night – the Canada Green Building Council Board of Directors.
Great people. Good Food. Cash Bar.
Terrace Room, Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, 728 Humboldt Street
RSVP online at by February 1, 2008

Province Reports: Campaign Includes 120 days in Bejing

Damian Inwood, The Province, Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More than 100 delegations will likely host meetings this summer at a $14.7-million Beijing trade-and-tourism pavilion aimed at attracting new business to B.C. and Canada, says Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen.

"We're hoping for one delegation for every day it's open," said Hansen yesterday. "Our hope is that after this pavilion closes, we will have one of the best Rolodexes in China."

The B.C.-Canada Pavilion will be open for 120 days from May 22 to Sept. 18, coinciding with the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.

Already, 20 delegations have signed up to use the 21,000-square-foot exhibition and meeting space, just off Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing.

The pavilion is a much bigger version of the log house that drew more than 100,000 visitors during the Turin 2006 Winter Games and resulted in $30 million in free media advertising for B.C. and Canada.

Hansen said he hopes to at least double the amount of media attention in Beijing.

Officials estimate that 400,000 people will visit the Beijing pavilion, each paying about $4 to get in, he said.

Business sectors signed up to use the pavilion include high-tech, life sciences and medical devices, new media, clean energy, advanced education, forest products, agri-food, film and TV, tourism, environmental, transportation and music.

B.C. communities on board include Prince George, Kamloops, Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler and Sea-to-Sky corridor communities.

Organizations include the Vancouver Board of Trade, Life Science B.C., B.C. Film and the B.C. Centre for International Education.

The B.C. government is funding the pavilion to the tune of $8 million, with Tourism B.C. and the federal government each contributing a further $3 million.

Corporate sponsors include HBC, Teck Cominco, Haworth, Jade West and ASPAC Developments.

"We've had doors opened to us in Beijing we never would have had and that gives us an opportunity to showcase B.C. and Canada to key decision-makers in the corporate community and the government community in China," Hansen said.

From a tourism perspective, there is a huge opportunity for attracting Chinese visitors even without Canada being part of the Approved Destination Status program.

"Incentive travel is growing tremendously in China," said Hansen. "As you get people moving into cities and taking up great new jobs, companies are trying to find other ways of compensating employees.

"If they meet their targets, a group of employees get a trip to Canada and that will be a big focus of our efforts."

Times Colonist Reports: $90-million Endowment Fuels New Institute with Green Ideals

By Jeff Rud, Times Colonist, Saturday, January 26, 2008


The province is setting aside a $90-million endowment to help run a new climate institute that will have its headquarters at the University of Victoria.

UVic president David Turpin said the institute will focus on ways to slow climate change and to adapt to the fact "that we recognize it's happening.'' Areas of focus at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions will include energy and transportation. But the centre will also help to educate the public on climate change.

"What we want to do is move past simply looking at the problems and identifying problems and to focus now on: What are the solutions?" Turpin said.

The institute will position B.C. to be an international leader in developing climate change solutions and attract research talent to B.C., he said.

"The intention of the province to endow this centre is huge. Because what that means is we will be able to attract the best and the brightest in the world. They will look at that level of commitment and will know that the resources will be there in perpetuity to make this initiative happen and to allow it to continue.'' Premier Gordon Campbell, who refers to climate change as "the single largest challenge that we've faced in our generation," said the institute will help deal with that challenge.

"I believe that it's critical for us to bring together all of the talents of British Columbians to try and assure that we adapt to these changes in the short-term and that we mitigate the impacts of how we live on the planet in the long-term,'' he said.

The institute will have a permanent staff of eight, including a director.

At startup, the institute will receive $4.5 million from B.C. After that, the endowment, expected to yield about $4 million annually, will pay for its operations.

The institute will gather top scientists and researchers with business and government to "develop new policy alternatives, to find ways to educate and encourage greener lifestyles, and to develop new green technologies into products that can be used by consumers around the globe,'' Campbell said yesterday in Vancouver.

The province's four "research-intensive" universities — UVic, University of B.C., Simon Fraser and University of Northern B.C. — will participate in the institute.

Besides the permanent staff in Victoria, the institute will feature 20 graduate student fellowships, 10 post-doctoral scholar fellowships, and four "visiting fellows," which will be distributed between the four universities.

At least 80 existing faculty members from those universities will also participate.

Campbell said UVic's reputation as a centre for climate research played a major role in it being chosen as the institute headquarters.

Michigan State to Transform Pfizer's $50 Million R&D Site into Bioeconomy Research Center

Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)–The pharmaceutical industry and its major players seem to be issuing grim news releases, announcing severe job cuts and plant closings on a regular basis. Thankfully, the bad news sometimes translates into good. Such is the case with Pfizer's $50 million gift to Michigan State University (MSU) in the form of a 138,000-square-foot research and development facility and pilot plant.

Located in Holland, Michigan, the building will find new life as a bioeconomy research center and business incubator under MSU's direction. It will expand the school's research with a focus on biomaterials, biofuels and bio-based chemicals. The center will support a statewide program to diversify and enhance Michigan's economic base. The transformation of the facility, which includes 37,000 liters of chemical reactor capacity with centralized automatic controls, lab space for up to 100 researchers, a 125-seat auditorium, a library, an atrium and offices, is expected to cost no more than $5 million. The site could be open as early as this fall.

A major proponent of the deal was Lakeshore Advantage, the Holland-area economic development organization. Beyond working with Pfizer, Lakeshore helped MSU secure funding in the form of state grants. As for the manufacturing plant that remains on the 46-acre Pfizer site, the company has decided to demolish the building this year after failing to secure a buyer during a two-year search.

B.C. to Fund World-Leading Climate Research

The Province will seek legislative approval for $94.5 million to create the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, which will bring together top scientists, researchers, governments and the private sector to develop innovative climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions.

“British Columbia universities have some of the top climate scientists and researchers in the world,” said Campbell. “This institute will bring together those academics, along with others from around the world, with business and the private sector to develop new policy alternatives, to find ways to educate and encourage greener lifestyles, and to develop new, green technologies into products that can be used by consumers around the globe.”

The Institute will be a unique joint collaboration between the province’s four research-intensive universities – the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and University of Northern British Columbia – the private sector and government. It will bring provincial, national and international climate researchers together to work with governments and the private sector to develop ideas that can be applied and transferred to government, industry and the public.

Besides providing research support and developing innovative alternatives such as new energy systems, new forms of transportation, alternative technologies, and socio-behavioral change, the Institute will also provide the public with information and ideas on how to reduce individual greenhouse gas emissions through public forums, publications and online information. It will provide education, training and outreach to business leaders, government staff and non-government organizations via workshops, short courses and publications.

The Institute will be founded on four pillars: Research on climate change impacts; assessment of mitigation and adaptation options, including technology development; education and capacity building; and outreach through knowledge management and technology transfer.

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions will be hosted and the collaboration led by the University of Victoria, utilizing existing space. The proposed funding will be used to support research projects, staff salaries, graduate fellowships and internships. The endowment will ensure the Institute will operate in perpetuity.

“Linking British Columbia’s climate researchers together and with other national and international researchers will help us develop and apply knowledge to British Columbia situations,” said University of Victoria president David Turpin. “It will also ensure that research is meaningfully transferred to government, industry and the public and secure B.C.’s leadership in this important area.”

“Developing technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions represents not only a challenge, but an economic opportunity,” said Environment Minister Barry Penner. “We have at least 18,000 people working on leading-edge technological solutions in B.C., which we can market to the world.”

Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell said the Institute will build on existing climate research initiatives currently operating in B.C., such as the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium.

“This will serve as a linchpin for a Pacific regional network that includes key scholars from B.C.’s four research-intensive universities, major Alberta universities, and universities from Washington, California and others,” said Coell. “The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions will be a valuable resource to government and the private sector by providing access to the considerable climate change expertise found in British Columbia’s universities.”

The Institute will be governed by a consortium of British Columbia’s four research universities and will receive advice and guidance from an advisory board made up of public and private sector stakeholders.

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions’ mission will be: ‘To partner with governments, the private sector, other researchers and civil society, in order to undertake research on, monitor, and assess the potential impacts of climate change and to assess, develop and promote viable mitigation and adaptation options to better inform climate change policies and actions.’

The Institute will stimulate and promote the development and commercialization of world-leading climate change solutions and assist government and the private sector in selecting the best possible solutions to be applied to mitigation and adaptation. It will support and promote societal change and use the synergies of a broad collaboration to leverage funding coming into the province. The Institute will also be a key partner in providing education and training opportunities for graduate students, both in British Columbia and globally.

British Columbia is legally mandated to reduce B.C. greenhouse gases by 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020; reduce emissions by at least 80 per cent below 2007 levels by 2050; and make all provincial government operations carbon-neutral by 2010.