Linnaeus lands funding for oilseed crop development

By Bryan Sims | September 21, 2011

Vancouver-based Linnaeus Plant Sciences Inc. has been awarded $1.2 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, an arm’s length, nonprofit corporation created by the Government of Canada, to advance the production of camelina and safflower-based oils to be used as renewable feedstocks in a variety of high-value, nonfuel applications such as polymers, lubricants, surfactants and other valuable industrial materials.

LPS has developed an integrated biorefinery model that optimizes higher value fatty acids that combine separation methods and oil modifications to proprietary oil profiles the company is developing in collaboration with DuPont and Pioneer Hi-Bred. Additionally, LPS has also developed lines of camelina and safflower, in collaboration with SemBioSys, that produce hydroxyl fatty acids, such as those in castor oil, which are key components in the production of polymers and lubricants. LPS currently markets lines of biobased lubricant products under its trademarked Smart Earth Corp. brand.

While LPS’s oilseed crops could be applicable to the fuel market, such as feedstock for biodiesel production, the company maintains that its integrated process is focused on serving the industrial materials sector, according to LPS President and CEO Jack Grushcow.

“Some of the coproducts will be useful in fuel applications, but this is not our focus,” Grushcow said in an email correspondence.

Given the demand for lubricants and feedstocks for polymers and related markets, Grushcow estimates 1 million acres of annual production on land that will not impact food acreage.

“Currently, all acreage is for agronomic improvement and optimization of production methods in anticipation of scale-up,” he said, adding that the company anticipates launching additional families of retail lubricants under its Smart Earth brand in 2012.

LPS’s oilseed development team is located in the National Research Council’s Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


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