Turning waste to energy
President and CEO Craig Armstrong says the project is delivering both economic and environmental benefits. “Producing our own energy will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and other inputs associated with effluent treatment. We also expect benefits in productivity, as we improve our effluent treatment capacity. And, the project will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, cut our water consumption and improve water quality in the Athabasca River.”
Though used in other industries, anaerobic hybrid digester technology is new to the pulp and paper sector.
The bio-energy project is part of a larger trend in the forest industry, where waste materials are converted to high-value products. “Our goal is to use the whole tree, with zero waste: wood chips from our sawmill are used in manufacturing pulp at our adjacent mill; shavings and fines are delivered to a panelboard mill; and fines and pins are provided to the oil and gas sector, for site remediation. In addition to creating our own energy, we provide wood residuals to a regional green-power plant, while biomass from our pulp-mill effluent treatment system is used by the agricultural sector as a soil enhancer,” said Armstrong.