$30M sawmill waste to gas project gets ‘green’ light to proceed
April 15, 2021 | 1:30 pm CDT

Expander Energy said its biomass to conversion plant will initially produce more than 6.5 million liters of "low-carbon intensity, clean-burning synthetic fuel.”

SLAVE LAKE, Alberta – Expander Energy Inc. will move forward with plans to construct a $30 million manufacturing facility to convert softwood sawmill waste into low synthetic diesel fuel after receiving its environmental permit from Alberta Environment and Parks.

Expander is partnering with Vanderwell Contractors Ltd., which operates a sawmill adjacent to where the Expander Energy plant will be built. The plant will reportedly be the first in Canada to turn biomass gas into liquid fuel. Expander Energy said AEP Permit is the “last significant permit” needed to begin construction and operation of the plant.  Construction is expected to being later this year.

Expander Energy plans to initially produce more than 6.5 million liters of what it describes as “low-carbon intensity, clean-burning synthetic fuel” made from sawmill and forestry residuals. The product will be trade named SynDiesel. The company added that its long-term expansion plans call for producing more than 20 million liters per year, further noting that it believes the Slave Lake area’s biomass availability could support a facility producing 200 million liters each year.

According to Expander Energy, as of now, nearly all low-carbon intensity diesel fuel has been supplied from Asia and the United States due to lack of domestic supply. 
In the process of making the synthetic diesel fuel, the plant will also produce marketable hydrogen. Hydrogen also is being viewed as an alternative to fossil fuels.

"This is about converting waste material into a high-quality renewable low-carbon intensity fuel and a valuable hydrogen product that can help both the environment and create a new industry in Alberta and Canada," said Ken Vanderwell, president of Vanderwell contractors.

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Rich Christianson | President/Owner/C-Level

Rich Christianson is the owner of Richson Media LLC, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his nearly 35-year career, Rich has toured more than 250 woodworking operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends. He has also directed and promoted dozens of woodworking trade shows, conferences and seminars including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Canada’s largest woodworking show.