Pulp Mill Could Be Ethanol Site

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A shuttered pulp mill at Prince Albert, Sask. could be the new site for a facility to make cellulosic ethanol from cereal straw.

Saskatchewan’s provincial government on June 1 inked a letter of intent with Domtar, owner of the pulp mill site, and Iogen, an Ottawa enzyme manufacturer, for the proposed development of an ethanol and bioenergy facility at the P.A. site.

The letter, which states itself to be a “non-binding indication of intent” subject to all parties’ formal approvals, calls for Iogen and Domtar to work together on research for “potential redevelopment” of the site.

Iogen, which makes enzymes for the pulp, paper, textile and animal feed industries, has for over a year proposed to build a commercial-scale facility somewhere in Saskatchewan, expanding on its demonstration-scale wheat straw ethanol plant at its Ottawa facility.

The company has already applied for the federal government to foot up to 40 per cent of the bills to build such a facility, through the government’s NextGen Biofuels Fund.

At a commercial scale, Iogen’s proposed Saskatchewan facility would be the first of its kind, using enzymes to break down cereal straw for production of low-carbon dioxide ethanol automotive fuel.

The proposed P.A. agreement also calls for the use of ethanol plant and forestry industry residues to run a power generation plant at the site, “if the final investment decision is positive,” the province said.

Iogen, working with Royal Dutch Shell as its partner on this proposal, expects to make a final investment decision on the project after design and “detailed feasibility work” are completed.

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