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Biodiesel demo plant announced for Quebec


May 25, 2016
By Cindy Macdonald

FPInnovations and Bioénergie La Tuque (BELT) have signed a collaboration agreement to investigate and construct a next-generation biorefinery demonstration facility in the city of La Tuque, Que.

Through this project, the partners aim to produce more than 200 million litres of biodiesel annually from the conversion of forest residues.

Patrice J. Mangin, holder of the bioeconomy/bioenergy chair from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), is the general manager of BELT. “[Partnering with] a centre with a national and international reputation, and a centre with experts and experience like FPInnovations, shows everyone that this project, which has been in the making for several years, has now reached a decisive point that will expedite subsequent work and decision-making.”

The agreement has an initial term of four years and consists of three phases. The first phase includes assessing the technical and economic feasibility of the biorefinery project and confirming the availability of biomass at a competitive cost, identifying technological bottlenecks in the most promising process lines, and determining an acceptable technical and economical level of risk.

Phase 2 of the agreement includes a detailed evaluation of the technologies identified in Phase 1. This phase will be assigned specifically to FPInnovations’ research teams, in collaboration with BELT and the developing regional bioeconomy/bioenergy chair held by Mr. Mangin at UQTR.

The construction of a demonstration plant in La Tuque, with a defined capacity based on results obtained during Phases 1 and 2, represents Phase 3 of the project.

FPInnovations will act as a key player with regard to R&D and evaluation studies, while Mangin of BELT will lead the management of major projects.

The biodiesel produced by this demonstration facility could replace non-renewable fuels in transportation, therefore leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions.

The project should also result in the creation of nearly 500 direct and indirect jobs in the region. Ultimately, the project aims to attract major partners interested in investing in a commercial plant.

“FPInnovations is proud to be part of the BELT project, which is perfectly in line with the environmental strategy of the organization and supports the energy policies of both the Québec and Canada governments,” said Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations. “In addition to having a positive impact on climate changes, the production of clean energy from forest biomass fits perfectly with FPInnovations’ vision, that is, a world where products from sustainable forests contribute toward all aspects of daily life.”

Patrice Bergeron, president of BELT, commented: “This partnership can only lead us to the completion of this important project, and we are very confident that we will get there faster and more efficiently than expected.”

Bioénergie La Tuque is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to develop and create winning conditions for the development of the bioenergy sector in the area of La Tuque.