Past Projects

Composting Technology Centre

About the Compost Technology Centre

Composting is the decomposition of organic matter into a soil-like amendment which acts like a fertilizer. It typically takes six months to process the organic matter into compost.

The Olds College Centre for Innovation’s Composting Technology Centre partnered with the Town of Olds in 1995 to start one of the first centralized composting systems in Alberta. This initiative saw homeowners responsible for the source separation of organics from the main waste stream. The compost product was widely accepted as a valued natural resource. The Mountain View Regional Waste Commission expanded the program with the inclusion of the Town of Sundre (2002) and the Town of Didsbury (2003).

The three towns involved with the Mountain View Regional Waste Commission provided a green compost bin for all residents. The residential bins, along with community grass bins, were collected every two weeks and delivered by the Commission to the Composting Technology Centre on the Olds College campus. Three area schools were also involved in compost collection programs.

New Management of Compost Sales: Stoney Soil Products Inc. took over management of the Composting Technology Centre on May 1, 2017.  The College has been working with Stoney Soil Products Inc. since 2014 in a closed loop system where local residential organics are composted at the CTC and then packaged into value-added soil amendments by Stoney and further retailed by local stores.

Contact: Stoney Soil Products
Didsbury, Alberta

Olds College Biofuel Technology Centre

Olds College`s Biofuel Technology Centre was a non-commercial, pilot scale biofuel production system. The focus of the research was the process for optimization for biofuel production, along with validation and testing of processes for application in a number of sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Science
  • Clean Technology
  • Education
  • Energy (Renewable and Fossil Fuels)
  • Food
  • Manufacturing and Processing

In May 2007, Olds College added biodiesel to its bioindustry research program. There was significant industry and government support for Olds College opening the BioFuel Technology Centre. In 2009, Olds College was awarded $2.3 million in funding from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for Biodiesel Production, Alternative Feedstock and Commercial Adoption. The project involved three major activities:

  • Expanding the capacity of the BioFuel Technology Centre
  • Agronomic and processing trials of alternative non-edible feedstock
  • The optimization of biodiesel processes, by-products and integrated solutions to enhance commercialization

The project was designed to address local industry needs, eliminate capacity and knowledge gaps,and support both federal and provincial policies. The expected project outcomes included:

  • Increased College and local industry capacity to address the expanding range of biodiesel and bioenergy issues
  • The development of an applied "biodiesel commercialization cluster" in Alberta
  • Positive social, environmental, and economic benefits that support sustainable rural development in Alberta

This project brought together numerous community partners, including Mountain View County, Mountain View Regional Waste Commission, the Town of Olds, and Chinook’s Edge School Division. They were engaged in this program through the use of biodiesel produced and blended at Olds College. In addition, local companies and agriculture producers also supported the community program by using biodiesel blends in their operations. This program showcased the ability of a community to come together around a biofuel program, to develop a greener Community, and to and elevate awareness through tours, workshops, student laboratories, and community and student engagement in research.

Past Turfgrass Research

Access reports by Topic by clicking one of the following links:

Green Roof Project

The Community Learning Campus' Core High School and Health and Wellness Centre, along with the Fine Arts and Multimedia Centre were host to several test plots designed to investigate the viability of specific green roof plant varieties.

A green roof lasts two to three times as long as a conventional roof, dampens sounds within a building, reduces inside and outside ambient temperatures during summer months and filters the surrounding air. It also manages storm water runoff, filters water and supports food production and biodiversity.

Significant headway has been made in the development of roofing membrane systems for green roofs but research is ongoing in the areas of plant material and growing media, which is where Olds College and the School of Environment came into play.

Some of the plants tested included kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), and hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum). The project was overseen by Gord Koch with the assistance of Kim Wickwire, instructors in the Horticulture Program. It was funded by the Olds College Center of Innovation and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.  Plants were tested in two growing media compositions at different depths. The sites had wireless transmission solar powered weather stations that recorded temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, precipitation and evapotranspiration. Green roof technology is being taught at the diploma and applied degree level to landscape management students. This project came to an end and was dis-assembled in the summer of 2016.

Dominican Republic Coffee Project

Olds College's Dominican Republic Coffee Project was a social enterprise that connected coffee growers in the Dominican Republic with coffee lovers in Canada. In the process, this helped educate children in the Dominican and gave new revenue streams to Dominican coffee producers.. Our dream was simple but brilliant: we imported green coffee beans from the Belarminio Ramirez Coffee Company located at Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. The coffee beans were grown by a small group of selected growers and certified organic and shade-grown. The green beans were roasted monthly in Alberta in small batches and sold in Canada.  However, the most unique aspect of the Olds College coffee program was that 90% of the profits from the coffee went to a Dominican Republic Scholarship program. This unique program encouraged children in the mountains of Jarabacoa to remain in school and supported technical farmer training to enhance both coffee quality and farm revenue.