Dr. Christine Murray
Director – Agricultural Technologies, Alberta Innovates
Most of us never see the back story of innovation. When a new product or process is introduced that improves our lives, we’re unaware of the struggles and inspirational breakthroughs that happened to get to that place. But Dr. Christine Murray, Director of Agricultural Technologies at Alberta Innovates, is leading cutting-edge research that’s turning biomass into value-add products and energy.
Examples of biomass include wood and agricultural crops, and their straw, chips, bark, etc. Municipal solid waste and livestock manure are also biomass that can be used.
The bioeconomy offers interesting and rewarding career options for women who want to make a difference by advancing clean technology.
Much of Murray’s early work was in crop and plant research that sought to find value in industrial crops to fuel the bioindustrial sector. “I joined Alberta Innovates almost 10 years ago, because they were open to finding value in renewable biomass from agriculture and forestry,” she says. “The world is looking for new products from sustainable sources, with the added benefit that these products made from biomass can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capturing and storing carbon. It also contributes to economic growth.”
Alberta is becoming a hub for bioindustrial innovation in Canada. Alberta Innovates, a provincially funded organization, is playing a key role in expanding the sector by advancing research and development in the use of bioproducts and industrial biotechnologies.
Turning waste into value-add products
“Rapidly advancing technologies are allowing us to create products from biomass, including bioenergy, biomaterials, and biochemicals,” says Murray. “This adds value to our economy, while also being more sustainable and environmentally friendly.”
The bioeconomy offers interesting and rewarding career options for women who want to make a difference by advancing clean technology. “It’s a growth sector,” says Murray. “One that requires new, creative minds, and having more women in the sector will bring a diversity of thinking and ideas that will push innovation even further.”