Calgary

Protein Supercluster announces funding for different kind of Alberta oil

Protein Industries Canada, one of five superclusters established by the federal government, has made its first investment, doling out $4 million to a Calgary-based oilseed processor. 

Calgary company Botaneco uses new process to extract valuable components of crops like hemp and canola

Botaneco CEO James Szarko speaks at the announcement of funding through the federal government's superclusters initiative. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Protein Industries Canada, one of five superclusters established by the federal government, has made its first investment, doling out $4 million to a Calgary-based oilseed processor. 

That $4 million will be matched by industry for a total investment of $8 million over two years for a project led by Calgary's Botaneco Inc. 

Protein Industries Canada has $153 million to invest. 

"This represents a significant milestone as a supercluster, and we are thrilled to have worked with the consortium and co-invest into a project that will drive innovative processing and bring new opportunities for feed and food manufacturers," said Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel in a news release. 

The aim of the project is to commercialize Botaneco's processing technology, which the company says extracts components of oilseeds like hemp and canola without damage or the use of harsh chemicals. 

Once extracted, those ingredients can be used in food, animal feed or personal care products. 

Value-added crops

The investment is part of a push to get more value for crops and to take advantage of a new push toward plant-based protein. 

"The Protein Industries Canada co-investment will allow us to expand our internal research capacity and contribute to the building of a Prairie proteins ecosystem with our consortia partners and key public research institutions," said Botaneco CEO James Szarko in a news release. 

"This investment will greatly accelerate our development timelines; opening new, high-value markets for Canadian oilseed crops."

The superclusters were established by the federal government in order to invest in specific markets in specific areas, essentially playing to the strength of various regions in Canada. 

They include the digital cluster based in B.C., the protein cluster based in Alberta, the advanced manufacturing cluster based in Ontario, the AI cluster based in Quebec and the ocean cluster based in Newfoundland.

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