The provincial government announced Lacombe as the new site for a first-of-its-kind biorefinery to be built in the next year.
The biorefinery will use new technology to turn animal and plant waste into renewable energy. This will cut down on 40,000 tonnes of emissions every year, according to the Government of Alberta.
Lacombe was chosen as the build site because of its central location and important ties to the agriculture and energy sectors, Jason Nixon Minister of Environment and Parks said Thursday at a press conference.
“The Lacombe biorefinery is a leading-edge example of Alberta innovation in action,” said Nixon. “The province is fast becoming a hub for projects that process waste while creating more value for key industries like livestock and farming, and substantially reduce emissions.”
The project will be partially funded through Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) program. TIER will contribute $10 million to the $45 million dollar facility. Alberta companies, who pay into the fund when they don’t meet emissions targets, help to finance the program.
According to a press release provided by the Alberta Government, there is more than $1.9 billion in total TIER funding that will be reinvested into the province through projects such as this.
This new facility will generate approximately 80 construction jobs while it is being built and 25 full-time operation jobs when it is completed.
Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey thanked the provincial government for investing in the city’s local economy, “This development is consistent with Lacombe’s long-standing leadership in farming and agriculture innovation.”
The company BioRefinex Canada created the technology used at the facility and will be leading the Lacombe biorefinery development.
Chris Thrall, president and CEO of BioRefinex, said the company plans on breaking ground on the project in the spring of 2021. The goal is for the facility to be fully operational by 2022.
This will be the world’s first facility to fully apply BioRefinex thermal hydrolysis technology. This Alberta-made technology works by utilizing extreme heat, high pressure and water to turn waste created in agriculture and food processing industries into renewable natural gas and organic fertilizer which will be available to Alberta customers. The province estimates the facility will have the capacity to generate enough clean energy to heat 1,000 homes per year.
Both local and provincial governments are hopeful this new venture will attract more green businesses to the area.
“This project will put Lacombe and Alberta literally on the map of global leaders in emissions management and climate action,” said Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka.