News Archives: GPRC to Partner in "Alberta Rural Organic Waste to Resources Network"
Released: Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
The GPRC Centre for Research & Innovation is a partner in the establishment of the new Alberta Rural Organic Waste to Resources Network (AROWRN), and is among the organizers and presenters at the network's first conference, to be held at Alberta Innovates Technology Futures in Edmonton April 30 and May 1, 2012.
The conference, which has attracted delegates from throughout western Canada, will be of most interest to those interested in the production of wood and other biomass, in innovative waste treatment solutions, and/or in opportunities in Alberta's emerging bio-economy. The GPRC Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI) has been actively involved in this area of applied research for several years, and is helping to present the conference with funding from Alberta Rural Development Network, Natural Resources Canada and NSERC.
Organizers are particularly pleased to present keynote speaker Dr. John Gilliland, OBE, who is a global leader in sustainable development and the founder and Chair of Rural Generation. He is Chair of the Rural Climate Change Forum and former Vice Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies of the U.K. and a former president of the Ulster Farmers' Union. Dr. Gilliland has represented the agri-business sector with all levels of government, the EU and worldwide economic bodies.
Two GPRC staff are part of the conference organizing committee. Melissa Day, the CRI research coordinator, is Conference Chair and Bruce Rutley, CRI director, will lead the sessions toward the formal establishment of the network. Researchers and participants in active projects will share information and results from each of the Alberta research sites.
Five Alberta research sites have been established over the past five years to investigate the application of municipal wastewater and biosolids to willow and poplar crops under Alberta climate conditions. The sites, dubbed Sustainable Wood Energy Plantations (SWEP), were established at the towns of Whitecourt and Beaverlodge, the hamlets of Ohaton (Camrose County) and Clairmont (near Grande Prairie) and in collaboration with the City of Edmonton. This work was led by the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, GPRC Centre for Research & Innovation and the University of Alberta.
Funding for these projects was provided by Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions, and businesses and municipalities interested in sustainable rural development, community cost savings and green business opportunities. Over time, site-specific expertise and knowledge has evolved that could be shared among the existing participants, as well as benefit those interested in the establishment of new installations. The formal establishment of AROWRN is intended to facilitate this exchange of information, as is the 2012 conference.
The projects, the network of partners, and the research are major steps toward environmentally sustainable and economically viable plantations and approaches to wastewater management, and are in support of rural sustainable development.