Alberta Chips Turning Wood Waste Into Green Energy

EDMONTON - - The province of Alberta is giving $17.5 million to Millar Western Forest Products to help it convert organic material found in pulp mill waste water into electricity.

The green power produced will allow the firm to draw 6.2 fewer megawatts from the power grid to operate its Whitecourt mill, enough electricity to supply about 6,500 homes annually.

Once proven at the mill, the technology used in the proposed Bioenergy Effluent Project has the potential to make significant environmental improvements in pulp and paper mills across the country.

“Turning wood waste into renewable energy is an excellent example of how we can efficiently use our natural resources,” said Environment Minister Rob Renner in a statement.

“By promoting innovation, we are continually raising the bar for environmental performance in Alberta.”

The project will involve the installation of an anaerobic hybrid digester AHD to pre-treat waste water and produce a biogas that will generate green electricity.

“In addition to reducing our environmental footprint here at home, advanced technologies like AHD can give us a marketing advantage, setting Alberta’s forest products industry apart as innovative and green,” said Ron Reis, Millar Western’s senior vice-president.

The AHD technology will also lower the mill’s direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by about 50,000 tonnes per year, reduce water consumption, improve the quality of treated waste water discharges, and cut the production of solid organic waste in half.

The project is seeking the necessary permits. If approved, it will take two years to complete.

Provincial funding for the project comes from Alberta’s share of the Canada Ecotrust for Clean Air and Climate Change.

The Ecotrust distributed $1.5 billion among all the provinces and territories to assist with clean-air and climate-change initiatives. Alberta’s share is $155.9 million, of which about $100 million has been invested in a number of initiatives over the past two years.



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