We have selected agriculture as the foundation, as food is the common denominator of life. Producing food is part of the biological and cultural, as well as economic fabric of civilization.

It has been said that "What happens out in the countryside in one century consistently affects the cities in the next century". Today, the time delay between cause and effect has been reduced to the speed of thought. The massive advancement of global integration means we can no longer rely on the foundations we stand on or the defences that have kept us "safe".

Meet Co-Founder, Christopher Bush.
Christopher Bush

Catalyst Agri-Innovations Society Co-Founder, Christopher Bush served as an Impact Designer in the 2017 XPRIZE Visioners, where his team designed a global competition to "Build a Bridge to Abundance" for clean air. The Bold Innovator (team leader) for this was the former Chief Sustainably Officer to President Obama, Christine Harada.

The Catalyst Agri-Innovations Society was conceptualized in 2006 and established in 2009 for the purpose of delivering research resources, advancing environmental and economic sustainability of agriculture. The over-arching strategy is to work closely with other industries and research facilities to create innovative solutions for addressing common farming concerns.

Meet Co-Founder, James Irwin.
James Irwin

As a serial entrepreneur, James Irwin has always had a keen sense of opportunity. Early in his career, he led a research project that used microalgae for biofuels. The US military was intrigued and invited him to submit a project to the $100 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) competition, where his team finished in the top six out of 42. The biofuels project led to research into using the algae as a pharmaceutical resource, which led to the development of the anti-inflammatory Regenurex, and its sale to the publicly held Pond Technologies.

James’ expertise in bio-refining has made him an in-demand speaker on emerging environmental and sustainability technologies. Among other engagements, he has addressed the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and the Canada Trade Mission to China.

About our partnerships
Point 3 Biotech Corp Logo

In February of 2019, Point 3 Biotech acquired a $3.2 million-dollar anaerobic digestion pilot plant to serve as the heart of the envisioned research centre. Point 3 Biotech seeks to create a sustainable supply chain for the synthetic biology industry.

Point 3 Biotech is a privately held Canadian corporation founded by James Irwin and Frank Dionisi in July 2018. The company has three main areas of research—microalgae, zero-waste agriculture, and terpenes, which are plant bioactives with benefits for health and wellness.

  • Our research into microalgae has led to a number of opportunities, including the production of astaxanthin marketed under the Regenurex brand.
  • Our zero-waste agricultural research converts livestock manure into organic fertilizers and biomethane, which is then consumed by single-cell proteins that are ultimately converted into livestock feed.
  • Our OnPoint terpene formulations are available direct-to-consumer through our website and are being white-labelled in the spring of 2020.

Eco Dairy Logo

The EcoDairy commissioned a demonstration scale anaerobic digester capable of processing manure from 60 cows to see if it was feasible to operate at that scale. This equipment has now been dedicated to our first project, which means the Point 3 Biotech equipment will now be moved to EcoDairy.

Trident Logo

Trident is an established continental leader in liquid/solid separation and nutrient recovery. They are suppling equipment and human resources for the project. They installed the first full nutrient recovery system for an on-farm biogas plant in Canada.

The Hallam Lab Logo

Steven Hallam is a University of California Santa Cruz and MIT trained molecular biologist, microbial ecologist, entrepreneur, and innovator with over 20 years of experience in field and laboratory research. He is a full professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC and a program faculty member in the Bioinformatics and Genome Sciences and Technology training programs. Dr. Hallam directs the ECOSCOPE innovation ecosystem based on four research and training pillars:

  • Microbial ecology
  • Biological engineering
  • Data platforms
  • Networking and entrepreneurship

His research intersects these program pillars with specific emphasis on the creation of functional screens and tools that use computers to reveal the hidden metabolic powers of uncultivated microbial communities.

Seabreeze Farms Logo

Seabreeze was the second commercial scale on-farm digester in BC and the home of the Trident system. It has been the host site for many R&D projects, including serving as host of the BC Bioenergy Network/Foresight Accelerator ARTIC Challenge. It will serve as the comparative analysis reference to the manure only work at the EcoDairy.

National Industrial Symbiosis Programme Logo

NISP Canada was established in 2016 and brought the world leading Circular Economy program to our shores. The recently completed pilot project identified a massive number of potential linkages with agriculture and agri-foods, leading to new opportunities. The NISP Synergy Software will be the guidance system used for matchmaking in the centre.