Cape Breton centre receives funding from provincial forestry trust

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Cape Breton University's Verschuren Centre is receiving $672,000 in provincial funding in support of its bio-technology acceleration centre.

The money is coming from the Forestry Innovation Transition Trust created after Northern Pulp closed.

Beth Mason, the centre's president, said the goal is to grow alongside manufacturers and that could create jobs in Cape Breton.

The accelerator can turn forestry biomass like wood chips into products that are currently being produced by petrochemical materials.

Tom Ayers/CBC
Tom Ayers/CBC

The centre will be able to help manufacturing companies that want to switch from petrochemicals and help them produce scaled-up products of their prototypes for commercial sale.

"They bridge that gap between our primary resource industries and manufacturing, and the manufacturers need to add sustainability to their portfolio," said Mason.

3 projects receiving funding

Sandra McKenzie, chair of the forestry innovation transition trust, said the bio-technology acceleration centre fits right in with the trust's mandate.

"Bio-technology is one of the ways that we see that we're going to be able to move toward using the forest in an ecologically sound way," said McKenzie.

The centre was one of three projects given money through the trust this week.

The innovation hub of Nova Scotia Inc. received $921,000 and Genome Atlantic will receive $315,000.

McKenzie said the Verschuren Centre's project is the first project the trust has endowed that is solely Cape Breton-based, but the other two projects receiving funding this week will see benefits provincewide.

"We've got some really interesting pieces that are being funded," said McKenzie.