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Sault forest biomass plant gets cash for expansion

By Carol Martin
SooToday.com
Saturday, April 16, 2011

NEWS RELEASE

CENTRE FOR RESEARCH
AND INNOVATION IN
THE BIO-ECONOMY

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CRIBE supports northern green economy by funding forest biomass pilot plant in Sault Ste. Marie

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) is pleased to announce a $923,261 investment to expand Elementa Group’s Pre-Commercial Demonstration Plant in Sault Ste. Marie.

This funding will allow Elementa to make the necessary modifications to begin using forest biomass as an additional feedstock.

The current Elementa process uses municipal solid waste to produce a high quality synthetic gas (syngas).

The upgrade will allow Elementa to do the same thing with forest biomass, the waste material from forestry operations such as tree tops, branches and foliage.

Converting this plant to also use forest biomass as a feedstock will demonstrate the viability of forest residue as a renewable energy source.

It is clean, highly efficient and supports the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases and commercialize alternative energy production.

Elementa currently employs 20 people and the addition of forest biomass to the process is expected to create five to six direct jobs.

“Sault Ste. Marie is surrounded by an abundant supply of renewable forest biomass and residual waste. Instead of this waste counting as an overhead cost to the industry, now we can convert it into a renewable energy source,” said Frank Dottori, chair of the CRIBE board. “This is just the beginning, with an existing infrastructure and government policy, Ontario has the opportunity to present itself as a world leader in the biomass-to-energy market.”

"Our government continues to support the alternative energy sector in Sault Ste. Marie by investing in innovative projects that are creating renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases while also diversifying our economy," said David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. "In addition to the solar farms, wind farms, and co-generation projects that are transforming Sault Ste. Marie into the clean energy capital of North America, today's provincial announcement further demonstrates our commitment to modernizing Ontario's electricity system."

“Sault Ste. Marie has a rich history in the forestry industry so it is very fitting that this city be the home of biomass innovation. The Ontario government, through the forward thinking leaders of CRIBE, have demonstrated leadership in their support for alternative energy and technology development. We are truly delighted to partner with them as we advance forest biomass testing in Sault Ste. Marie,” stated Elementa CEO, Jay Zwierschke. “Elementa is preparing to showcase forest biomass waste as a new generation of our waste to energy technology that will re-shape the biomass industry by creating a variety of value added energy bi- products.”

The Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy is a provincial initiative to transform the forest products industry in Northern Ontario.

We're an independent, not-for-profit research corporation, with $25 million in funding provided by the government of Ontario, that partners closely with other relevant organizations to provide support to direct and turn research results and innovative business opportunities into operational realities.

CRIBE will help the bio-economy to play a central role in the metamorphosis of Northern Ontario's future - creating jobs, opportunity and prosperity.

Elementa Group is a Canadian controlled private corporation located in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The Sault Ste. Marie (SSM) site offers a research and development pilot plant where a team of engineers and scientists developed the Elementa Process.

The patented Elementa Process (EP) is an endothermic, noncombustion process that features a water-based chemistry for the clean conversion of carbon-based materials into energy.

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