Making young arborists familiar with environmentally friendly lubricants

Oilseed Innovation Partners working with colleges to train arborists in bio-based products

The next generation of Ontario arborists is receiving training in new, environmentally friendly lubricant products for their forestry equipment.

This is thanks to a growing partnership between Oilseed Innovation Partners (OIP), colleges and the forestry industry – which has also become a proving ground for these new products in real world situations.

Arborists work in tree management, including tree pruning and removal, including for urban forestry departments of municipalities, utilities, and government departments, as well as conservation authorities, landscapers, electrical contractors, and tree care companies that service public and private properties.

Their chainsaws require various lubricating oils like two-stroke engine oil and bar and chain oil that end up being finely sprayed into the environment during the cutting process, making green alternatives appealing.

There are multiple advantages to OIP collaborating with the arborists at Humber College, according to OIP Director of Bioproduct Commercialization, Rob Roe.

“We’re reducing the environmental footprint of the arborist industry overall while also providing training to the next generation of arborists on these new, bio-based products that we believe to be the wave of the future,” Roe says.

“At the same time, by having Humber’s instructors and students use these products, we’ve been able to put the products through their paces and prove that their performance is in many cases superior to petroleum-based oils,” he adds.

The performance of the bio-based oils has also impressed Humber’s Bob Smith, lead instructor in the college’s arborist apprenticeship program.

“This is our second season with bio-oil products and we’ve seen fantastic results with good lubricating qualities, and fantastic for cleaning; just a good, clean-burning oil,” says Smith. “Bio-based lubricants give us a low carbon footprint and we’re not impacting the environment the way we would have been 10 to 15 years ago.”

The bio-based oils are made using Canadian-grown high oleic oilseeds as the principle ingredient. OIP’s involvement with the colleges, the International Society of Arboriculture, the Ontario Commercial Arborists Association and the Ontario Woodlot Association is part of its overall market development and innovation mandate for the oilseed industry.

“A significant part of our role is to develop value for agriculture, the environment and our economy through bioproduct commercialization using oilseeds,” says OIP’s CEO Jeff Schmalz. “This includes developing new markets for our crops and products such as bio-based lubricants, that will help build wealth for our economy while also making a positive difference for the environment.”

Oilseed Innovation Partners receives funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.