The Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources is a research institute within the
Faculty of Engineering at
Western University. In March of 2008, the Ontario government invested $5 million to support the design, construction and initial start-up operation of ICFAR’s (pron. I See Far) new 20,000-square-foot research centre, located a few minutes north of the City of London. On October 16, 2009, ICFAR hosted its Grand Opening.
Fundamental and applied research and development activities in the fields of production of renewable fuels and chemicals, heavy oil conversion, and sustainable technologies are conducted at ICFAR. Technology transfer and commercialization initiatives are of primary importance to ICFAR. Our goal is to quickly move research from lab benches to large pilot plant/demonstration projects at ICFAR, paving the way for Ontario bio-fuel and chemical innovations to reach the global marketplace. Among other activities, the Institute houses facilities to test next generation bio-fuel technologies. Using a process called pyrolysis, agricultural, forestry and food residues, such as corn stover and cobs, wood branches, bark, grasses and so on, are converted into bio-oil, which can be further refined to make insecticides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and engine fuels (as examples), into a solid called bio-char which is recognized for its ability to act as an effective fertilizer while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and into heat (gas), which is used to provide the energy to enable the pyrolysis. ICFAR also works on projects to improve thermal cracking processes for the conversion of oil sands, and to reduce their environmental footprint. Moreover, ICFAR’s R&D projects include the development of a variety of industrially relevant gas-solid reactor technologies and ancillary equipment.
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