The Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources, ICFAR (pron. I See Far), is a research institute within the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Western Ontario (http://www.icfar.ca/
). ICFAR was established in January 2008. As its name suggests, the aim of ICFAR is to be a leader in the development of technologies and processes for the production of chemicals and fuels from alternative resources, with an emphasis in green engineering and environmental sustainability, an identified "signature area" of research in Western’s Strategic Research Plan. The goal is to quickly move research from the lab benches to large demonstration projects at ICFAR, paving the way for Ontario bio-fuel and chemical innovations to get to the global marketplace – fast. Among other activities listed on our website, the Institute houses facilities to test next generation bio-fuel technologies being developed by Western researchers. Using a process called pyrolysis, agricultural, forestry and food residues, such as corn stover and cobs, wood branches, bark, grasses and so on, produce a bio-oil which can be further refined to make insecticides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and engine fuels (as examples), a solid called bio-char which is recognized for its ability to act as an effective fertilizer while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and heat (gas) which is used to provide the energy to enable the pyrolysis. Technology transfer and commercialization initiatives are of primary importance to ICFAR. As an example, Agri-Therm Inc., is an ICFAR spin-off company that is in the early stages of bringing new bio-fuel technology to market. Agri-Therm makes a patented, mobile pyrolysis unit, and has begun to market its technology.