AB coal mine land reclaimed to grow willows for biomass feedstock

Biomass feedstock pilot program supported by industry and the three levels of government

Municipal organic waste from Edmonton will be used to replenish land at a coal mine near Forestburg, AB. A willow crop will be then planted on the reclaimed land and the willows will be used as biomass feedstock for renewable energy.

Alberta innovates is working with federal, provincial, municipal and industry partners to develop a unique clean technology pilot project which will see reclaimed land used to help grow biomass feedstock.

The provincially funded corporation announced on Tuesday that it will used municipal organic waste from Edmonton to help replenish soil at the Paintearth coal mine.  A willow crop will be then planted on the reclaimed land and the willows will be used as biomass feedstock for renewable energy.

“This project is a fine example of how the circular economy works,” said Steve Price, Executive Director of Bioindustrial Innovation at Alberta Innovates.  He adds “We can help municipalities manage their organic waste, grow a renewable feedstock for the production of bioenergy and reclaim expired mine sites – all at the same time.”

Westmoreland Mining is providing the demo site at its Forestburg, AB site.  EPCOR Water Services will process and transport municipal bio solids to the reclamation site and environmental consulting firm SYLVIS is leading the BIOSALIX project.  SYLVIS is based in New Westminster, BC., and has offices in Edmonton and Calgary.

John Lavery, Principal Scientist with SYLVIS Environmental Services says “SYLVIS and its partners are able to redefine mine reclamation, advance renewable energy development and help climate change mitigation through BIOSALIX in a way that can benefit Albertans and Canada as a whole.”

The project is under Alberta Innovates’ Alberta Bio Future program, which is aimed at boosting the bioindustrial sector in Alberta as well as adding value to the province’s abundant, renewable biomass resources.

Alberta Innovates says agriculture and forestry wastes and byproducts are being transformed into advanced biomaterials, biochemicals, bioenergy and biocomposites.

Alberta Innovates is contributing $1.5 million to the project.  The investment is being leveraged with $3.8 million funding from the Natural Resources Canada Clean Growth Program and $2.1 million funding from Emissions Reduction Alberta.

SYLVIS, EPCOR and industry partners Westmoreland Mining and Bionera Resources, are providing additional cash and in-kind services for a total project value of about $10.5 million.





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