Canadian cleantech firm TerraVerdae Bioworks has secured C$4.5m ($3.24m) in new funding to strengthen biodegradable bioplastics development capabilities.

The company received the funding from Alberta Innovates, Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program (CGP) and other investors. It also includes advisory services and research and development funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

With the proceeds, TerraVerdae will improve its expertise and upgrade its equipment that is used to produce industrial bioplastics. These plastics are used in a variety of industries such as food packaging, adhesives, personal-care and forestry and agricultural markets.

The funding will also help the company to expand its product development facilities in Edmonton.

Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease said: “We are supporting clean-tech innovations that strengthen our province’s traditional industries and help to launch new companies and products.

“Besides forestry and agricultural plastics, the Covid-19 pandemic is driving retail demand for single-use plastics like grocery bags to reduce the risk of community transmission.

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“Bioplastics convert renewable carbon sources into must-have products that help reduce waste plastic contamination; that’s a concrete example of innovation.”

TerraVerdae uses carbon neutral proprietary polymer technology to develop bioplastics. Its product portfolio includes a bioplastic pouch for tree seedlings.

The pouch will biodegrade within several months of planting the sapling in the forest. The company plans to test launch the bioplastic pouches later this year.

TerraVerdae Bioworks founder and CEO William Bardosh said: “Each year the forest industry plants millions of tree seedlings. With Arbor Day taking place in many jurisdictions from late April to early May, we think this is a great time to announce this major funding from Alberta Innovates, Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council of Canada, along with private investors in our global network.

“We have achieved major milestones in the last year, including a significant expansion of our technical resources and capabilities, and increased partnerships for technology access, development and commercialisation.”