Success Story

Atikokan Bio-Energy Research Centre (ABRC)


In 2006, OCE was tasked by the Ministry of Energy to co-ordinate and manage a $4 milllion bio-energy research program (ABRC) associated with Ontario Power Generation’s Atikokan Generating Station in northwestern Ontario.

The goals of the initiative were to explore cleaner forms of electricity generation and encourage economic opportunities in Ontario’s north. The program included six inter-related projects, all aligned with cleaner electricity production.

The ABRC involved 29 professors from several Ontario universities and colleges who oversaw the work of 87 students. The initiative also attracted 29 partner organizations which collectively contributed a further $4.5 million in cash and in-kind funding, including 23 personnel. The three-year program concluded in March, 2010.

On August 26, 2010, the Ontario Government announced the conversion of the Atikokan Generating Station from coal to biomass in the form of wood pellets. This was a major milestone for ABRC. Plans to convert the plant to biomass in 2013 are moving forward.

“Atikokan was very excited about this project led by OCE and was pleased to be involved every step of the way. Seeing all the researchers attend meetings in Atikokan to present their findings was a very uplifting experience for our community. We feel the ABRC project was well worth it as it no doubt helped to prove the Atikokan Generating Station could continue to operate using wood pellets- something the entire community wants and needs.”

—Denis Brown, Mayor, Town of Atikokan

Return on Innovation

  • 200 Ontario jobs converting generating station to biomass
  • 20–25 jobs related to wood pellet production
  • Sustains jobs in Atikokan Generaton Station, community and forest sector

OCE©2010 Last updated 01/2012