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Alta. government invests in biorefinery

Alta. government invests in biorefinery

Alberta will provide $10 million towards a facility in Lacombe

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Alberta’s provincial government is investing millions of dollars into a new facility that will turn ag waste into clean energy and fertilizer.

The government is providing $10 million from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system towards a $45-million biorefinery in Lacombe.

The facility will use a technology called BioRefinex thermal hydrolysis to take industry waste and convert it into useable products.

“This innovative, Alberta-made technology uses high heat, high pressure and water to turn animal and plant waste from agriculture and food processing into organic fertilizer and renewable natural gas … that will go into the local distribution system,” an Oct. 15 government release says.

It’s unclear at this point how the biorefinery will acquire the ag waste material it needs for its transformation process.

But it’s likely farmers and agribusinesses will have an opportunity to sell items to the facility, said Lynn Jacobson, president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture.

“I would imagine there would be contracts for waste and the refinery would be looking at feedlots and hog barns to supply manure,” he told Farms.com. “If it can be an assured moneymaker, I would imagine some of the larger feedlots would be jumping in with both feet.”

The Lacombe Biorefinery will support up to 80 construction jobs and 25 full-time jobs in the community and Calgary.

In addition, it will reduce emissions by about 40,000 tonnes each year, or the equivalent of taking almost 9,000 cars off the road.

This biorefinery is a sign that farmers and the ag industry can be part of carbon-reduction strategies, Jacobson said.

“I think the diversification of the economy is along this line,” he said. “This falls into the category of looking at renewable sources of energy, and agriculture is well-positioned to help with that.”

Farms.com has reached out to industry groups for comment.



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