Governments of Canada & Québec award $76.5M to AE Côte-Nord Canada Bioenergy for renewable fuel oil from forest residues w/ Ensyn RTP
The Governments of Canada and Québec will provide $76.5 million in funding to AE Côte-Nord Canada Bioenergy Inc. for the production of renewable fuel oil (RFO) from forest residues. The plant, which will use Ensyn’s RTP (rapid thermal processing) (earlier post), will be the first commercial RTP facility designed and optimized for the production of biocrude used for heating, cooling and refinery applications, according to Dr. Robert Graham, Chairman, Ensyn Corporation.
The Port-Cartier plant will also be the first commercial-scale facility of this kind in Québec. The goal of the project is to convert forest residues into 40 million liters (10.6 million gallons US) of renewable fuel oil per year. When upgraded into transportation fuels, this will remove up to 70,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. Production of renewable fuel oil is set to begin in 2017.
Ensyn’s RTP technology has been in commercial use for more than 25 years, producing biocrude used for food ingredients, with by-product liquids being used for industrial heating.
RTP uses heat to crack carbon-based non-food solid biomass feedstocks (including wood residues) into high yields of a higher-value liquid product. The RTP pyrolysis process is based on the application of a hot “transported” bed (typically sand) that is circulating between two key vessels. Feedstocks are subjected to fast, intimate contact with the hot sand for under a few seconds, resulting in the thermal cracking of the feedstock to gases and vapors. Product vapors are rapidly quenched, or cooled, and recovered as a light liquid product.
|Simplified RTP process flow. Source: Ensyn. Click to enlarge.|
The RTP process is actually an analog to Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC), used in petroleum refineries. An FCC system circulates catalyst in a closed loop between two key vessels in order to convert vacuum gas oil to gasoline. Ensyn uses a similar mechanical process, but typically circulates readily-available sand while converting biomass to high yields of a light liquid product.
Utilizing RTP technology, the Cote Nord Project will convert approximately 65,000 dry metric tons per year of slash and other forest residues from local sources to biocrude. The biocrude will be sold to customers in the Northeastern US and in Eastern Canada for heating purposes and as a renewable feedstock for petroleum refineries for the production of low carbon transportation fuels. The RTP conversion unit is being engineered and supplied by Envergent Technologies LLC, a joint venture between Ensyn and Honeywell UOP.
The Government of Canada is providing $44.5 million for this project, through a $27-million investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and $17.5 million from Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program.
The Government of Québec is contributing $32 million to the project, including $10 million from Investissement Québec. In March 2016, to ensure the fibre supply for the project, the Québec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks reserved 170,000 green tonnes of residues from government forests for the plant.
Through an alliance of three companies—Ensyn Bioenergy Canada, Arbec Forest Products and Rémabec Group—the private sector is demonstrating its substantial involvement with the confirmation of a $27.4-million investment.
The Côte Nord Project is located adjacent to Arbec’s sawmill on the north shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Ensyn owns 50% of the equity of the project.
The project’s renewable fuel oil is a cleaner alternative to conventional fossil fuels; it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 70 to 90% compared with fossil fuels and has a multitude of uses, including for heating and the production of transportation fuels.