Biowaste plant gets go ahead

A month long extension to get financing in order turned into a one year delay, but Lacombe, Alta., city council has finalized a land sale with a company that plans to turn specified risk material into safe byproducts.

BioRefinex Canada completed a land sale of 12.2 acres in southeastern Lacombe for its proposed $35 million plant. The city originally entered into a conditional sale agreement in 2011.

“We’ve worked long and hard at this,” said Chris Thrall, president of BioRefinex. “The investor group is keen to move things along. They are committed to the project.”

The proposed plant would turn 45,000 tonnes of animal byproducts a year into fertilizer, biogas and other products.

The plant is expected to use a patented heat technology called thermal hydrolysis technology that breaks down organic material, including BSE and other risk materials.

The plant will commercially demonstrate the technology.

“There is on-going interest around the world in the technology. Everybody would like to see the process in operation,” Thrall said.

While the oil and gas economy in Alberta is depressed, the low Canadian dollar has investors interested in the product. It’s a project that fits the profile for investors interested in environment, economy and health, he said.

The previous provincial government said it would commit $10 million in funding from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp. The organization funds projects that will reduce Alberta’s carbon footprint.

Now that the land sale is final, Thrall said his company would continue to work on attracting investors and completing engineering plans.

“Once that is done it is just breaking ground and building.”

Thrall did not give a timeline for the next stage.

Contact mary.macarthur@producer.com

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