ERA funds wheat-ethanol plant, woody biomass project

By Erin Voegele | March 26, 2019

Emissions Reduction Alberta recently announced funding to support several projects through its Partnership Intake Program, including a biorefinery that will produce ethanol and biogas and a technology that will utilize biomass waste materials in the production of wood biomass.

On March 18, ERA announced it has awarded $5 million in funding to support the development of a $285 million biorefinery that will produce wheat-based ethanol and generate clean power from biogas production. The proposed project, under development by Carbon Clean Energy Inc., is known as Project Wheatland.

According to information released by ERA, the facility, proposed for development near Strathmore, Alberta, is designed to produce 160 million liters (42.27 million gallons) of denatured ethanol, 1.76 mmBtu of biogas, and 12 MWh of green power generation annually. Once operational, the facility will also generate 1.3 million metric tons of Alberta carbon offset credits annually. The facility is expected to begin operations in early 2021.

ERA also announced it is committing more than $2 million to Sylvis Environmental Services Inc.’s novel approach to reclaiming mine sites. The company’s innovative BIOSALIX process is an innovative mine reclamation and wood biomass production process that will be demonstrated at Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Paintearth Mine near Forestburg, Alberta. The process utilizes municipal biosolids and other waste organics in the production of wood biomass.

According to ERA, BIOSALIX addresses two unique challenges in Alberta: the accelerated closure of prairie coal mines and an increased demand for management of organic residuals. Under the process, municipal biosolids and other organic residuals will be utilized as amendments to existing topsoil and feedstocks in topsoil fabrication with the goal of establishing highly productive fast-growing willow wood biomass crops on the reclaimed land mine. The resulting biomass can be used as a feedstock in clean energy, reclamation or bioproduct development.

ARA said its new Partnership Intake Program is a referral-based initiative that allows organizations with rigorous, fair and transparent processes to share projects for funding consideration. Launched in 2018, the program has provided $28.4 million in investments to projects worth over $652 million. Together, Project Wheatland, the BIOSALIX demonstration, and a third project under development by Titanium Corporation Inc. that aims to remediate oil sands forth tailings at Canadian Natural’s Horizon Oil Sands site, are expected to deliver cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of 9 million metric tons by 2030.

Additional information is available on the ERA website