Embattled Port Alice may be offered an economic lifeline
Arterran Renewables has expressed interest in developing the dormant Port Alice pulp mill site into a pellet plant as part of their initiative to replace coal and reduce carbon emissions.
The company intends to use cellulose, the waste wood left behind from logging projects—of which there is plenty around Port Alice—as their raw material.
Being that Japan and China have a strong interest in increasing pellet imports to replace coal and nuclear energy, Port Alice’s deep seaport enables access to these overseas markets.
Arterran’s process takes the woody biomass and transforms it through a low temperature, low pressure catalytic process to create a product with a higher carbon and oxygen content and therefore a higher mass and energy potential which is similar to coal, but cleaner burning. With minor modifications, this can be used along with coal in existing plants and could eventually replace it. This would have a significant effect on carbon emissions while also creating jobs.
Arterran has had their product validated by various third party testing labs, including Powertech Labs, a subsidiary of BC Hydro, Britley Mineral Testing Labs, a subsidiary of GWIL Industries, SGS and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
The company has also received the Startup Canada Award for sustainable development, has been nominated for the Governor General’s Innovation Award and was a finalist at the Tech Awards.
If Arterran were to acquire the pulp mil site, they would not be using the mill infrastructure in their process, except for buildings to store their product and conveyor belts and docks for moving it around. Their manufacturing facility would be modular, developed off site and then shipped and assembled at the new location.
Arterran is a five member research and development company that is presently in the process of expanding into commercial operations. If all goes well, they are planning to use their own equity to initiate the Port Alice plant as their “demonstration plant” so they can send samples of their product around the world. Once there is global demand, they intend to approach conventional lenders to expand their operations.
Arterran recently took part in the 10th Clean Energy Ministerial and 4th Mission Innovation (CEM10/MI4) event in Vancouver that took place May 27-29. Arterran was included among, what the CEM10/MI4 website touts as, “a diverse, dynamic group of clean energy advocates and leaders to advance clean technology and innovation.”
The gathering also included participation of ministers and government representatives from 25 countries, corporate leaders, clean energy companies, investors, NGOs and media. The objective of the conference is to “seek to strengthen cooperation among governments, the private sector and international organizations by promoting international efforts to accelerate progress towards a clean energy future.”
According to David Tiessen, Arterran’s Director of Business Development, this was a “successful event attracting investor interest, and interest from a state run utility after learning Arterran’s Advanced Fuel (AAF) provides the ability to replace thermal coal, from 1-100 per cent, without incurring cost prohibitive conversion expense.”
Although Arterran has notified the Village of Port Alice and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development of their intentions, and is seeking partnerships with the Quatsino First Nation and Fulida Holdings Ltd. (owners of the pulp mill site), they do not yet have anything formally in writing.
They are presently actively engaged in negotiations with Fulida, and are attempting to resolve issues with Ministry before proceeding further.
– Debra Lynn article