The seemingly disparate sectors of agriculture, auto-parts, auto-assembly, forestry, and chemicals and plastics manufacturing moved one-step closer today with the Government of Ontario’s announcement of funding for the Ontario BioAuto Council. “Today the Government of Ontario has not only shown their support for our organization and our vision but also their commitment to the larger global bio-economy and a cleaner, more economically diverse Ontario,” said BioAuto Council Executive Director, Terry Daynard from the announcement location at the Premier’s Summit on Agriculture at Queen’s Park. The Ontario BioAuto Council is working to link agriculture and forestry with the chemical and plastics industry to produce materials and chemicals from biological feedstocks. The bio-based materials – such as flexible foams and rigid plastics would be supplied to the auto-parts manufacturers and auto assemblers for incorporation into Ontario-made cars and trucks. The Council is also working to identify other markets for bio-based materials such as the packaging and construction sectors. “Forestry, agriculture and the polymer industry linked to the manufacture of automobile parts, and other related higher-value, quality-dependent materials, represents a unique opportunity for Ontario to capture a substantial share of what is projected to be a $50 billion global market for bio-based plastics by the year 2015,” noted BioAuto Council Chair Bernard West, former President of Canada Colors and Chemicals Limited. According to the council, opportunities for producing automobile parts and related materials from biological feedstocks lie in many different areas. For example soybean oil can be transformed into a plastic precursor and incorporated into polyurethane foams for application in car seats, bedding or furniture. Other opportunities exist in fine chemical manufacturing using lignin and hemicellulose from trees; enhanced biofibre production – from agriculture or forestry sources – for use in composite materials and as a replacement to fiberglass. The Ontario BioAuto Council operates under a founding advisory board made up of representation from automotive assembly and automobile manufacturing companies, agriculture, forestry, chemical and plastic manufacturing, public research, and several Ontario ministries. The Council has an office in Guelph.