April 8, 2014. Alberta Biochar Initiative (ABI) successfully organized the “ABI Technical Seminar and Networking, April 8,” at Edmonton, AB. This event is a part of the series of technical events ABI organizes biannually. Next event is planned for Fall of 2014. This event, however, was focused at the regulatory challenges for biochar commercialization. The theme of the event was quite relevant to many industries at the time when industries are looking at finding markets for their biochar produced here in Canada or imported from US.
The event was originally planned to be held AITF, Mill Woods. Due to the growing number of interest of the people, the venue was later shifted to Radisson hotel in Edmonton South. We had about 60 participants, representing industries, universities, government research branches, government regulatory branches, entrepreneurs and individuals. It was quite exciting to see industries from United States and Germany present at the event, who were looking at market penetration of their product in Alberta, specially the reclamation market of oil-sand disturbed land.
Registration of the event started at 8 AM till 9 AM. Coffee and breakfast were served. Anthony Anyia, portfolio manager at AITF chaired the event and called upon Barry Mehr, Vice President, Forestry, Food and Agriculture, AITF to welcome the crowd. Then the event entered into the technical session at 9:25 AM with Bonnie Drozdowski presenting her data on multiple reclamation sites. After that, Lloyd Quantz, President of Greenedge Management, Olds delivered his presentation (in place of Rob Lavoie, AirTerra Inc., who was not able to attend the seminar) on biochar marketing, while drawing parallels with his 20 years of compost marketing experience. After a short tea/coffee break, Anthony invited Vadim Gouida, CFIA and Rick Phaneuf, ESRD in series to talk about respective organizations’ regulations related to production, transfer, and use of biochar. Vadim and Rick explained in details about the respective registration processes. This part of the program ended with the Lunch break.
After Lunch, the panel session was called with Vadim, Rick, Bonnie, Keith and Lloyd as panelist. Many questions were directed at ways of expediting and simplifying regulatory processes. For an effective registration process, the message from Rick and Vadim were quite clear, which is to apply early with complete and accurate information. Vadim suggested to create a small representative group of biochar expert to convince the safety and effectiveness of biochar to the regulatory offices. ABI will likely take the lead and move forward to effectively address this collective interest.
Following are the list of presentations made. You may click at the list to download the respective presentation file.