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Elementa inks 20-year deal with Ontario Power Authority (updated)

Friday, January 17, 2014   by: Darren Taylor
Elementa Group President and CEO Jayson Zwierschke was pleased to announce Friday that his Niagara-on-the Lake, Ontario-based company's vision of a waste-to-energy facility in Sault Ste. Marie has taken a crucial, giant leap forward after a decade of planning and pilot projects.

Zwierschke was on hand with Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti and a large group of local business and political leaders Friday at Roberta Bondar Place, where Orazietti formally announced the province has reached an agreement through the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) with Elementa Group Inc. to build a new, renewable energy generating facility in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Elementa group is still awaiting provincial granting of an Environmental Certificate of Authorization (ECA), but Zwierschke is optimistic that will come in the near future, enabling construction of the facility to start by the fall of this year. 

At its facility, Elementa will use an innovative, non-incineration gasification process that transforms municipal solid waste into energy.

It is expected the $55 million project will significantly extend the lifespan of the City's municipal landfill site.

Elementa's technology will add 9.5 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the provincial power grid, enough to generate power for 10,000 homes.

The OPA and Elementa have signed a 20-year contract.

Zwierschke stated he was not at liberty to disclose how much money Elementa will receive from the OPA for transmission of electricity to the provincial power grid throughout the 20-year contract. 

Orazietti told Friday's audience that construction of the Elementa facility will create approximately 100 construction jobs.

Zwierschke said construction of the facility is expected to start by the fall, and once completed and operating by 2016, it will employ 25 to 30 people with full-time, high-paying jobs in Sault Ste. Marie.

"I want to commend Elementa for being persistent (in bringing the project into being)," Orazietti said.

Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce President Mark Barsanti, who has quickly established himself as a champion of local entrepreneurship, commended Zwierschke for his entrepreneurial vision.

Zwierschke, in turn, thanked Orazietti, municipal politicians and City staff and the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) for their ongoing support of Elementa's vision.

Apart from providing electricity for the provincial grid, Zwierschke stated: "We will take on metals, and that will help the City with its recycling, and over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere to help protect the climate."

University of Toronto and world-class firms such as Caterpillar will collaborate with Elementa on the project, Zwierschke said.

"The technology can also produce clean hydrogen, fuel for future vehicles, and renewable jet fuel, green chemicals…the opportunities are vast," Zwierschke stated.

The facility will be the first of its kind in North America, and, as Zwierschke told reporters, "be a proving ground for future technologies that will be developed here in Sault Ste. Marie."

Elementa's efforts for now, Zwierschke said, are focussed on Sault Ste. Marie, but the firm has a view to expanding in various markets around the world, with plans for about 20 plants over the next eight to 10 years.

An abridged release from Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti follows.

Orazietti announces provincial energy agreement with Elementa Group Inc.
Provincial investment in clean energy improves air quality and supports local job creation
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON - The province has reached an agreement through the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) with Elementa Group Inc. that will see the company build a new renewable energy generating facility in Sault Ste. Marie, David Orazietti MPP, announced today.
“Our government’s landmark renewable energy strategy is leading the way in North America by supporting innovative alternative energy projects throughout the province that create high quality local jobs and reduce pressure on our electricity grid,” said Orazietti. “Elementa’s new waste-to-energy project will further diversify our local economy and strengthen Sault Ste. Marie’s position as a leader in the renewable energy sector.”
The OPA and Elementa have signed a 20-year contract for the company to generate clean electricity at a new non-incineration waste-fuelled plant operated by the company.
The plant will add 9.5 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity to the Ontario grid and process approximately 50,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste. Electricity generated will power the equivalent of 10,000 homes.
The project is valued at approximately $55 million.
“We wish to sincerely thank Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti and the province of Ontario for their support for this project and the advancement of Elementa and our technology,” said Jay Zwierschke, CEO of Elementa Group Inc.  “We are also appreciative of the City of Sault Ste. Marie for their support as the host community for the new plant and would recommend Sault Ste. Marie to all clean energy developers as the place to be if you want to grow your business and become an industry leader.”
Developed in Ontario, this plant will be the first non-incineration commercial project of its kind and will increase the province’s clean energy supply while supporting the creation of additional clean energy jobs. The project will create 25 to 30 full-time jobs, over 100 construction jobs and is scheduled to reach commercial operation by 2016.
To view video coverage of this event, please click here
Earlier coverage of this story
Elementa could soon be back in a big way. By Bob Mehell
One step closer for Elementa
Elementa granted lease extension. Mothballing pilot plant
Sault's trash-to-energy plan jeopardized by foot-dragging?
More on the Elementa deal
Energy-from-waste plant cuts a deal for your trash

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
RocknRoll 1/17/2014 1:54:45 PM Report

Guess the people of Ontario don't get it, If its a deal endorsed by the Liberals its going to cost the taxpayers. Remember our hydro rates are going up 42% in the next few years as OPG give free surplus power to the USA
pastoutla 1/17/2014 2:20:54 PM Report

What is the price payed per KWH.It appears this was ommited.
mjr 1/17/2014 3:27:46 PM Report

These windmill,solar or digester gas companies have won the lottery from
our provincial government "cash for life",a 20 year contract!!!! who does that on loosely proven technology.Smells of kick backs,favours or other future perks.
learningaswego 1/17/2014 3:54:11 PM Report

No figures of course, lest taxpayers get to see how much we're being screwed.
We have come to learn that with the Ont. Liberals "Green Energy" plan; it is never a question of "if" we're being screwed; but just a matter of how much.
steelworker 1/17/2014 4:21:15 PM Report

..."not at liberty to disclose" how much the taxpayers are being screwed over by Katey Wynne and the Liberal party. This guy is laughing all the way to the bank.
Gumby54 1/17/2014 5:17:32 PM Report

So this unproven technology will produce 9.5 MW of Clean Energy which according to this report is enough to power 10,000 homes. The Bow Lake wind farm will produce 58.32 MW of energy and according to that report, that was enough to power 15,000 homes. Is this energy from Element super charged?
Too much smoke and mirrors. We have no idea how much we as taxpayers will pay per KW and the figures somehow don't jive with the previous announcement on the Bow Lake project. Does our government actually read the propaganda they put out?
right wing 1/17/2014 5:48:15 PM Report

"Zwierschke stated he was not at liberty to disclose how much money Elementa will receive from the OPA for transmission of electricity to the provincial power grid throughout the 20-year contract."

Why the hell not!!!!

This smells like fresh dog shit stuck to the bottom of your boot.

They won't disclose it because just like the rest of the green energy scam it is heavily subsidized.
mallet 1/17/2014 5:54:04 PM Report

Personally I will vote for anyone who is prepared to say they will vote against any more "green Ideas" unless they are in line with fosil fuel, hydro or nuclear prices..This has gotten so far out of line that industry will never come back to this province until that power is returned to a reasonable price...
right wing 1/17/2014 5:57:05 PM Report

Incinerators negatively impact public health, local economies, the climate and the environment. The short track record of pyrolysis, plasma and gasification incinerator technologies has shown even higher costs, less dependability, and inconsistent energy generation. In addition, data show that dioxins, furans and other toxins are formed in these systems, and in some cases, toxins are formed in higher quantities than in conventional mass-burn incinerators.

Read more on this scam....
OnTheHill 1/17/2014 6:13:46 PM Report

Exactly what relates to this process. Give it a chance. Maybe we should plug all the volcanos around the world, also. Maybe we should continue to build a mountain of waste full of volatile methane.

Too small a planet, too many people. Quit complaining and give it a try. I'm sure there are lots of adjustments to be made, but they will be.
steelworker 1/17/2014 6:27:45 PM Report

...says a shareholder.
moose23 1/17/2014 6:28:15 PM Report

Definitely agree with the comments above (cost of green energy) but when you think about it, the public citizens of Ontario (not just Saultites) will be footing the bill - a bill that would be much higher if we had to go through the lengthy and extremely COSTLY process of developing a new landfill site. Any way of diverting waste and extending the life of our landfill site is a win-win. Small price to pay. Comparing this endeavour to wind power is like comparing apples to oranges...
right wing 1/17/2014 7:22:21 PM Report Ontario we already pay the highest energy costs in Canada.
This is not about saving the landfill site...talking about comparing apples and oranges!
Resident 1/17/2014 7:26:48 PM Report

R. W. Elementa does NOT use incineration.
Gumby54 1/17/2014 8:09:52 PM Report

What is the process to produce the heat in their process?
their website

shows various inputs from waste plus heat to produce their output. It may not be incineration but heat is required.
Also from their website

EP causes the complete breakdown of feedstock materials through the application of high-temperature steam in an indirectly heated rotary kiln.

What is being used as a fuel for the indirect heat? There will most definitely be something from the heating process whether that be natural gas for fuel or any other fuel.
Resident 1/17/2014 10:40:09 PM Report

Gumby: The article says "gasification" process. I'll go to the site you said and read more. I understood the process to be non-polluting. Seemed like a positive step with energy produced and waste diverted from the land fill.

Thanks for your input.
mikethedike 1/18/2014 12:22:44 AM Report

The Gasification process involves Indirectly fired rotary kiln, in which natural gas (and self-made synthetic gas, a by-product of the process) is used to seperate the materials (garbage) at molecular level. Think of it as a can inside a can. The inside can holds the garbage, and the outside can holds the flames.

The whole process is PROVEN, through the trials of the Elementa Group, not taxpayers.

I am not a share-holder, rather an educated member of the public. Either way, the technology is new, and unfamiliar to most people. In this regard, i think it makes people subject to a defensive position.

I, for one, am for the new technology and i think this is an absolutely ideal process of recycling waste. The waste is reduced by volume between 70-80%. The by-products can further be refined into road-making materials, etc. At worse, the end product (similar to ash) goes to public landfill and the landfill lasts 3 times as long.

Wisenheimer 1/18/2014 1:02:14 AM Report

Canada has a surplus of oil, nat. gas , hydro and and coal. Everything else is Liberal bull shit.
The only reason we are doing this is to bring the 3rd world and their nutty religious ideas and warm bodies into play. If you want to vacuum out all those blobs that inconvenience your life style you need someone else to fill he void. (aka tax payers.) They may speak french but they also need to have separate pool times and wear face covers so their men folk don't deposit them in the canal. Get a friggen brain!! Even Europe has caught on.
mosquitos 1/18/2014 3:56:02 AM Report

The Libs" gotta be stopped! Lib's don't create jobs, no matter how many announcements they make, the spindoctors need to get out of the way. Elementa deal another spoke in their fictitious green economy. Watch Sun News for the truth!
chatterbox 1/18/2014 8:38:15 AM Report

hey, contract costs aside, at least its in the sault and we'll benefit with the jobs, taxes, and increased lifespan to our landfill!!!
Mark Brown 1/18/2014 10:01:25 AM Report

Hey right wing,

"Developed in Ontario, this plant will be the first non-incineration commercial project of its kind... The technology developed by Elementa produces clean and efficient renewable energy from waste feedstock. It is based on a unique steam reformation (SR) process, a patented clean-energy technology that uses high temperature SR in a non-oxidizing environment to chemically break down carbon based materials into a clean syngas."

Non-incineration... non-oxidizing... chemical... steam (reformation) process.

Hmmmmm... apparently the gasified sky is NOT falling.

Here's the Northern Ontario Business article that the quote comes from if you want to check it out right wing:

BTW, right wing, the process has been rigorously tested and proven through a five year, medium scale, non-commercial, pilot project that Elementa conducted at the Sault's very own Landfill site.

For those of you who are wondering about the cost per KWh for the 20 year deal, I would guess that it's in the 14 to 17 cent range.

I'm also guessing that the reason Elementa NEEDED an OPA preferential rate agreement is because of the HUGE start-up costs to COMMERCIALIZE... this one plant in Sault Ste. Marie requires $55 Million as reported above

The one, most important, thing that everybody in this comment section needs to understand is that the Z brothers... the entrepreneurial scientists who developed this REVOLUTIONARY process... are extremely principled, civic-minded people who have worked for decades to get to this point where their waste to energy process is finally going large-scale commercial.

All along the way the Z brothers have been extremely reluctant to partner with monied people while they have perfected the process so that they could remain in complete, principled control of their work.

The primary focus of the Z brothers is to make the world a better place, and that is why they have NOT SOLD OUT having had many many many opportunities to do so along the way.

What the Z brothers have done with good scientific work, and the help of Steve Butland and a few Sault Ste. Marie City Councils and city staff, and a few principled investors, and now David Orazietti and the Liberal governed OPA is to bring a process that takes waste from the curbside and turns it into electricity on a large-scale commercial basis without any greenhouse gas emissions or any toxic waste.

Now that my friends is as close to a modern day miracle as you are going to get.

The application of this process is mind-boggling!!!

Island nations will no longer have to worry about where they are going to put their garbage! Toronto and other major urban centres will no longer have to pay to have their garbage shipped away! Each and every community around the globe will have a way to take care of it's own garbage without using up any significant amount of land for a landfill site.

Money will be saved by taxpayers hand over fist!!!!!

The Z brothers have never been looking to make a quick buck because they are principled, civic-minded scientists, and if I were a betting man I'd bet that the Elementa/OPA agreement includes a payback, if not a profit sharing, clause as Elementa rolls out their waste-to-energy process around the world.

This is a very very good investment for Ontarians.

Count on it.

The Z brothers have never sold out, and thank goodness for them because the primary beneficiary of their process will be humankind.

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Mark Brown
Gumby54 1/18/2014 12:48:51 PM Report

@Mark Brown
You need to understand that many are apprehensive and leery. What made SSM the perfect spot in the world for their venture? Yes you are guessing that the amount to be paid will be 14 to 17 cents. I am sure if it was this low the brothers would not have been reluctant to divulge. Me thinks more in the 30 to 40 cent range much like Essar CoGen.
All we need to do is wait for 2016 and the startup and maybe the hesitant and naysayers will go away - or they may be vindicated. There are a whole bunch of promises and motherhood statements.We need not lose sight of this venture and keep track of any further grants from all levels of government. I for one will voice my displeasure should our fair city fathers decide to put any more of our money into this venture. Let capitalism take precedent. You put in your own money and then reap any benefits. If however there are clauses where our fine city will recoup their portion of venture capital, that needs to be disclosed. I believe it is in our city interest to question the Z brothers at Monday's council meeting. There are just too many unanswered questions and partial details.
Mark Brown 1/18/2014 3:01:10 PM Report

@Gumby54, some luck and a willing and patient municipality made Sault Ste. Marie "the perfect spot".

At one of Elementa's open houses a few years ago one of the Elementa representatives told me that had it not been for a barroom conversation in Burlington the Z brothers would never have ended up here in Sault Ste. Marie (the luck).

And had the many Sault Ste. Marie City Councils over the past decade or so NOT stuck with their promises to see the Z brothers' revolutionary waste to energy technology through to this large-scale commercial stage the Z brothers would probably NOT be in the position they are in today (the willing and patient municipality).

By the sounds of it though, Gumby54, I'm fairly certain that the payback and/or profit-sharing clauses will only apply to the province and the OPA.

It would be nice of the Z brothers if they voluntarily offered the City of Sault Ste. Marie a small portion of the eventual corporate profits to demonstrate their appreciation for the Sault's significant contribution to their success though.

That would be the right thing to do IMHO.

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Mark Brown
RocknRoll 1/20/2014 10:43:17 PM Report
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