The Prairie Agricultural Fibre Characterization Industrial Technology (FibreCITY) initiative is a centre of excellence for agricultural crop grading that supports and stimulates the biofibre industry through research, development and the application of biofibre knowledge to real-world applications.
Our mission is to drive growth in the biofibre industry through the establishment of a world class facility to generate data, creating international standards and designs for new testing equipment, advancing the fundamental knowledge of biofibres through our projects and research partners, and applying our knowledge to design better fibres, products and processes.
We aim to be a global centre of excellence, generating the information needed to engineer and deliver reliable and consistent biofibres for enhanced industrial product performance.
We value the contributions of all employees and nurture a workplace ethic predicated on the principles of trust, mutual respect, open communication and empowerment. We encourage collaboration and cooperation amongst our partners and our staff. We advocate accountability in our business dealings, founded on the highest professional and ethical standards. We endorse excellence in leadership, initiative and innovation. We promote environmental stewardship throughout all aspects of our business including projects, operations and facilities.
The Composites Innovation Centre
The CIC is the founder of the FibreCITY initiative and maintains FibreCITY as a department of the CIC. It is through the FibreCITY and CIC relationship that advancements in biofibre technologies can be carried through to commercialized engineered products.
The Composites Innovation Centre (CIC), established in 2003, has excelled in delivering composite solutions to industry. The CIC offers services in testing, design, analysis and prototyping of composite products as well as business-minded services such as project management, networking and business planning for composite companies. The CIC serves a large variety of composite industries including aerospace, automotive, agricultural and sports.
Genome Prairie is one of six independent regional genome centres working together with Genome Canada (Ottawa) to promote the development of genomics technologies serving the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Genome Prairie has collaborated with the CIC in areas related to the development of a natural fibre grading capability (FibreCITY) and subsequent proposals aimed directly at understanding the flax genome for future breeding programs tailor-made for the natural fibre industry. FibreCITY’s progress in applying this innovative approach to grading, quality standards development and improving the performance of biomaterials is an important milestone to commercialize biocomposite materials for industrial applications. Genome Prairie works with FibreCITY, in terms of advanced breeding programs, to help build a progressive bioeconomy in Manitoba and Canada and to fulfil the targets set by Industry Canada to increase Canadian contributions to global biomaterials supply.
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) has extensive experience with wood, pulp and paper through its forestry department and the development of new composite technologies through its engineering department and the Composites Research Network. FibreCITY works with UBC to bridge gaps in some of the research on properties and advancements in the wood industry they have developed and to apply that research to agricultural biomass.
North Dakota State University
The Composites Innovation Centre works with North Dakota State University (NDSU) on expanding the knowledge base of using biomass in composite applications. FibreCITY continues this relationship, involving NDSU in key projects such as thermoplastic compounding, standards development and many others.
Canadian Light Source
In past projects, the CIC has teamed up with the Canadian Light Source (CLS) to investigate the interface bond between biofibres and resins in composites at a scale that is generally unprecedented outside synchrotrons. FibreCITY continues to work with the CLS to characterize the bonds found in the interface region of biofibres and resins as well as develop research-scale tests and modelling for these bonds to create industry accessible test methods and equipment that can be operated without a synchrotron.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canada has an extended history working with flax including breeding programs, mapping the genotype and maintaining a seed bank of over 4000 varieties of flax. FibreCITY partners with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to undertake growing trials to study the impact of variety, genotypes and environmental conditions on biofibre properties.
Parkland Crop Diversification Foundation
The Parkland Crop Diversification Foundation (PCDF) is a non-profit, applied research organization that conducts applied research and demonstrations on crops, technology and best management practices. FibreCITY partners with the PCDF to undertake growing trials of both flax and hemp varieties to study the impact of variety, genotypes and environmental conditions on biofibre properties while generating the agronomics data needed to make crops profitable to farmers.
Various Industrial Partners
FibreCITY maintains a large network of contacts to build the right team for each project. While FibreCITY does conduct research to generate knowledge on biofibres, it also maintains a strong industry connection including regular partnerships with composite manufacturers, technical service providers, equipment manufacturers and biomass companies. Through these relationships, FibreCITY will transfer knowledge developed with our research partners into commercial solutions that will grow the biofibre industry.