Right now, Alberta has opportunities to play a leading global role by supporting technologies that reduce emissions from biological sources. From agriculture to forestry to landfills, our biological program and funding opportunities are identifying novel solutions.

Commercializing a Greener Insulation from Canola

University of Alberta's Dr. Jonathan Curtis (left) and Peter Kiss from Morgan Construction examine an insulating panel made using Dr. Curtis' canola-based formula for the ERA-funded Sprayfoam project.
University of Alberta’s Dr. Jonathan Curtis (left) and Peter Kiss from Morgan Construction examine an insulating panel made using Dr. Curtis’ canola-based formula for the ERA-funded Sprayfoam project.

Sprayfoam worked with Dr. Jonathan Curtis and his team at the University of Alberta to develop a bio-based spray foam insulation.

The innovation for this project lives in its product. Conventional spray foam insulation is composed of two compounds: polyol and isocyanate. Conventional polyol is made from fossil fuels, and has to be imported into Canada—making it a high GHG emitter.

To combat this, Dr. Jonathan Curtis began exploring plant-based polyols, and developed a product that uses non-food grade canola oil to make a more environmentally friendly, more efficient and less costly product. The ability to produce a bio-polyol right here in Alberta is a significant step towards reducing GHG emissions—not only because it reduces the need to use fossil fuels in its production, but also because it eliminates the need for imports from overseas.

Sprayfoam’s product is now in use in external applications for building renovations in downtown Edmonton, and is undergoing certification so it can be used in internal applications. Sprayfoam also plans to build a new bio-polyol plant in Olds, Alberta—a move that will create jobs and support the construction and farming industries.