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CARES Research

Renewable energy can take many forms. At CARES the focus is on agriculturally based renewable energy such as biofuel production, anaerobic digestion and biomass utilization. We also complete research to ensure that this renewable energy can be produced in the most environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. Our research, development and outreach activities are currently focused on:


Biodiesel is made by applying heat, alcohol and base in the conversion of vegetable oil or animal fat into a liquid fuel that can be used in cars and trucks with diesel engines. We are currently investigating Camelina as an alternative biodiesel feedstock, integrated biodiesel production and utilization of lower value biodiesel co-products like glycerol and wastewater.


Biogas is produced by the concerted effort of different kinds of microbes. These microbes break down material in the absence of oxygen and produce biogas, a mixture of gases composed mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. Biogas is used to displace the fossil version of natural gas and to generate electricity and heat. In addition, a liquid digestate that is rich in nutrients and used as a fertilizer is also produced. The entire process of capturing and using the biogas and digestate created by the microbial degradation of material is referred to as anaerobic digestion. CARES is currently working on integrated production of biogas and digestate, alternative digestion feedstocks and nutrient cycling throughout the digestion process.

Biomass crops

Biomass crops, also known as bioenergy crops, are plants that are specifically grown for renewable energy or biomaterials applications. The organic matter from the crop is used directly as a combustible energy source or converted into another usable form to create heat, electricity, chemical precursors or liquid fuel. CARES researchers are investigating the economic and environmental feasibility of Miscanthus, switchgrass, big bluestem, Camelina and other plants as useful crops for the development of Ontario’s bioeconomy.

Page reviewed 06/09/2015