Excellence: by constantly striving to improve our services and remaining at the leading edge of our fields of expertise, while encouraging constant improvement and innovation for our team members and in our activities;
2002 to 2006 – The early years
OLEOTEK was established on November 28, 2002, as a non-profit corporation whose objective is the management of all activities regarding the Transfer of Technologies (CCTT) in industrial oleochemistry for the Cégep de Thetford. Additionally, OLEOTEK has received recognition as a Technology Access Centre (TAC) from the federal government. OLEOTEK now receives financial support from the Ministère de l’économie, de la science et de l’innovation du Québec (MESI), the Ministère de l’éducation et de l’enseignement supérieur (MEES), the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (CRSNG) as well as the Corporation d’initiative et de développement économique de Thetford Mines (CIDET).
The centre’s activities began in February of 2003, at which time OLEOTEK was concentrating its efforts on building its expertise in oleochemistry through the implementation of actual projects in collaboration with SMEs. In the spring of 2004, due to a growing need for laboratories and offices, the OLEOTEK moved from the Cégep de Thetford to more spacious premises, with the help of the City of Thetford Mines. In July of 2006, David Berthiaume replaced Benoit Pelletier as head of OLEOTEK.
2007 to 2011 – The move to new premises
June 2007 marks OLEOTEK’s move into its Mooney Street offices, in Thetford Mines. These new premises are better suited to the fulfillment of its mission. OLEOTEK can continue to support its growth by expanding its laboratory space, offices as well as establishing a new pilot plant. The year 2008 marks the opening of our explosion-proof pilot plant and the beginning of its operations. In 2009, the ever-growing number of research projects led to an increase of our team size, now composed of 11 professionals. OLEOTEK’s annual revenue have then reached $1 million.
2012 to 2016 – Start of large-scale projects
The year 2010 came with new access to the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) programs, leading to the financing of an important project for the development of bioplastics (a total of $5.5 million over 5 years), as well as an ambitious project for the valorization of microalgae. These two large-scale projects were put in place as consortia, including many private companies and research establishments.
It was in 2011 that OLEOTEK acquired its current installations. At the end of the year, OLEOTEK obtained a second large CCI-IE grant of $5.5 million over 5 years for the valorization of oilseed for industrial application of materials and technical fluids. In 2012, OLEOTEK acquired new cutting-edge infrastructures: new testing and analysis equipment, expansion of the pilot plant as well as the complete renovation of the synthesis laboratories.
In 2015, an ever-growing number of research projects led to an increase in OLEOTEK’s team, now reaching 15 full-time employees, to which 5 to 10 part-time or temporary employees were added.
2016 until today – Expanded mission and infrastructure upgrade
In 2016, the center’s expertise has expanded to include green chemistry, sustainable chemistry and process scale-up. Also, an important infrastructure upgrade project has been realized with an 1,7M$ investment from the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) jointly funded by federal, provincial, and local contributions. This project was completed in 2018 with the upgrade of the building envelope with ecoenergetic technologies and a complete refurbishing of the piloting facilities. The best is still to come!