$20M Edmonton facility will turn canola into renewable diesel fuel
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$20M Edmonton facility will turn canola into renewable diesel fuel

A $10-million investment in technology that transforms plant oils into renewable fuels is an example of how the province plans to use carbon taxes to cut emissions and diversify the economy, Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday.

Notley was on hand at a news conference hosted inside a new facility owned by SBI BioEnergy. Still under construction at the Edmonton Research Park, the $20-million facility will is being created as a demonstration site for the technology.

When up and running in mid 2017, the facility is touted to produce 10 million litres of renewable diesel fuel annually, much of it using non-food canola that is damaged by weather or in storage.

Renewable fuels can cut greenhouse gas emissions because higher concentrations can be blended into regular fuel to meet renewable fuel standards.

“Eventual commercialization of this technology has the potential to mark a turning point for Alberta,” Notley said. “Instead of having to import renewable fuels for blending with conventional fuels, Alberta would be able to refine renewable fuels here at home at relatively low cost.”

The government said the project will create 35 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 112,000 tonnes by 2020.

The $10 million has been committed by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp., which has been assigned by the government to distribute the money Alberta collects from its carbon levy on large emitters.

The corporation said it has yet to reach a final deal with SBI on when and how the money will flow. However, the parties have agreed the money will be put toward commissioning and operating the new plant, as well as helping with the design of a future commercial plant capable of producing 240 million litres of fuel a year. 

The NDP government recently raised the carbon levy from $15 per tonne to $20 for emitters that exceed their emissions limits. Another increase to $30 per tonne is set for next year.

kgerein@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithgerein

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