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February 9, 2012

Federal-Provincial Investment to Establish Clean Energy Centre and Bring New Biomass Technologies to Market

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Alberta’s capacity and ability to convert biomass into market- ready products is expanding with the establishment of a bio-energy applied research facility and industrial cluster at Hairy Hill, near Vegreville.

A combined federal-provincial investment of $8.4 million under the Canada-Alberta Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA) is supporting the BioWaste to Energy for Canada Integration Initiative (BECii) Corporation, an industry driven not-for-profit organization, to establish the BECii Clean Energy Centre.

“"By highlighting local talent and initiative, this project will help small and medium sized businesses in Alberta’s bio-energy sector grow by helping them develop new processes and technologies for the global marketplace,"” said Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville-Wainwright, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.

“"Alberta produces approximately 20 million tonnes of annual waste in potential feedstock,"” said Diana McQueen, Alberta Energy’s parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy. “"This facility will help bridge the gap between technological development and commercialization in bioenergy, create new valued-added opportunities and build on Alberta’s existing strengths in waste utilization."”

As part of the initiative, small- and medium-sized companies developing waste-to-energy conversion processes and technologies will be able to co-locate in Hairy Hill to take advantage of industrial land in close proximity to one another and tap into shared infrastructure and expertise.

“"BECii’s vision is unique in the North American waste-to-energy sector,"” said Evan Chrapko, President and CEO of the BioWaste to Energy for Canada Integration Initiative. “"BECii will help defray the cost of commercializing new combinations of technology and allow companies to scale-up to meet industry demands in both the domestic and international market on a much more timely and meaningful basis."”

The BECii Clean Energy Centre will allow Alberta companies to capitalize on shared costs and synergies for faster research and joint pilot testing. Funding will also support the purchase of equipment needed to facilitate the biomass to bio-energy conversion process, building leases and maintenance, supply and transportation costs.

The bio-energy conversion process involves transforming bio-mass from forestry, agricultural and municipal sources, including bio-waste such as bio-mass, straw, wood, manure, and sewage, into high-value products such as biodiesel, fertilizer, and ethanol that are greenhouse gas emission lean or neutral.

The investments by the Governments of Canada and Alberta are made through the Canada-Alberta Western Economic Partnership Agreement. Through this agreement, Canada and Alberta are jointly contributing $50 million, over four years, to strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in Alberta communities.

Click here to see the original news release.

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