Waste not, want not

Image credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Extruder, used on the Titan project.
Image credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Extruder, used on the Titan project.

In 2018, Craik, Sask.-based Titan Carbon Smart Technologies (Titan) came to Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Innovative Manufacturing Centre (IMC) for help to develop a biocarbon masterbatch that could replace traditional carbon black. Carbon black is formed by the incomplete combustion or thermal decomposition of hydrocarbon fuel or natural gas. It’s used in everything from tires to paint and plastic, and because it’s fossil fuel-based the production of carbon black has some of highest carbon emissions of any chemical.  

Titan was already producing biocarbon from waste biomass such as construction wood waste, sawdust, and agricultural residues for four carbon products used in animal feed, odour elimination, fertilizer and health and beauty care. Titan saw the opportunity that a biocarbon could replace carbon black because of its similar properties.  

The company engaged with Dr. Satya Panigrahi, Sask Polytech research chair, IMC. The project sought and was granted NSERC and ReMAP funding to explore how a carbon black alternative could be produced with biocarbon from waste such as plastics and straw. “The project will end in 2022, and so far, the results have been really good,” says Dr. Panigrahi. “Titan will be able to produce a biocarbon product that can compete in the carbon black market.” 

A patent for the product is coming, and the future is bright for an idea developed between industry and Sask Polytech. “The biocarbon product should see commercialization for moulding and grain containers first, and then onto other applications,” says Panigrahi.  

“The depth of Dr. Panigrahi’s knowledge and the substantial materials engineering resources at Sask Polytech has allowed Titan to enter into an extremely important market for our biocarbon. The product uses only waste materials and generates enormous carbon sequestration benefits. We are very pleased with the research and this new business opportunity,” says Jamie Bakos, president and CEO of Titan. 

The first step to learning what Sask Polytech and its applied research team of expert faculty can do for your business is reach out. “All it takes is a phone call or an email to get started,” says Dr. Susan Blum, associate vice-president, Applied Research and Innovation. “We’ll work with you—whether you’re just starting out or in a large organization—to determine what you need to accomplish and how we can help you get there.”   

Extruder, used on the Titan project

Learn more at saskpolytech.ca/research

This article was originally published in Industry West magazine. Industry West Magazine is a quarterly published business magazine with informative, objective and timely editorial and advertising content for the province’s business community. 

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is signatory to the SDG Accord. Sustainable Development Goal alignment is one of the ways Sask Polytech is leading the rise of polytechnic education.


Published March 2022.