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CBU Chemistry Researcher Receives Industrial Funding

Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel of Cape Breton University was recently awarded $90,000 in applied research funding from the Mitacs Accelerate program and industry partner, B.W. BioEnergy Inc.

Bierenstiel, an associate professor of inorganic chemistry, and his research team will work with BioEnergy on this two-year project to explore how tree bark, a byproduct of the company’s patented activated carbon manufacturing process, can be used in other value-added product streams.

BioEnergy, a Sydney company, produces bark from a variety of trees such as alder, birch, maple and willow, which contain natural compounds.
This research project focuses on detailed analysis using state-of-the-art equipment available at CBU and processing methods that can be readily implemented from the laboratory bench to an industrial scale.

Potentially diverse applications of bark products range from natural glues and wood treatment applications to extraction of natural compounds, which have medicinally active properties.
Bierenstiel’s team includes postdoctoral researcher Dr. Hisham Sleem, who is a recent PhD graduate in the field of organic chemistry from Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, and has expertise in natural products.

“It is great to have the opportunity to work with an industry partner on applied research,” said Bierenstiel, in a news release. “It is satisfying to solve problems creatively and to impact a company and its employees, ultimately benefiting the Canadian economy.”

“We at BioEnergy are extremely excited to have partnered with Dr. Bierenstiel and Dr. Sleem at CBU,” said Ryan Duff, business development manager at BioEnergy. “This research will be invaluable for us going forward by taking something that would otherwise be a waste stream to be managed and helping us turn it into value-added, natural products.”