​Alberta Innovates investing $1.5MM in coal mine reclamation-to-biomass project

Alberta Innovates intends to demonstrate the potential of fast-growing willow as a sustainable biomass feedstock.Image: Coal Association of Canada

Alberta Innovates is contributing $1.5 million to a unique clean technology demonstration project combing reclamation of a coal mine site with production of renewable energy.

The BIOSALIX project, led by New Westminster, B.C.-based environmental consulting firm SYLVIS, will use municipal organic waste from Edmonton to replenish soil with a willow crop at Westmoreland Mining’s Paintearth Mine near Forestburg, Alta. Alberta Innovates intends to demonstrate the potential of fast-growing willow as a sustainable biomass feedstock.

The project is “a fine example of how the circular economy works,” Steve Price, Alberta Innovates executive director of bioindustrial innovation, said in a statement.

Alberta Innovates’ $1.5 million is being leveraged with funding from the Natural Resources Canada Clean Growth Program and Emissions Reduction Alberta, who are providing $3.8 million and $2.1 million respectively.

SYLVIS, EPCOR and industry partners Westmoreland Mining and Bionera Resources are providing additional cash and in-kind services, for a total project value of $10.5 million. EPCOR Water Services will process and transport municipal bio solids to the reclamation site.

SYLVIS environmental services principal scientist John Lavery said the science, know-how and provincial support that Alberta Innovates brings to the BIOSALIX project are critical to its success and its delivery.

“With this support, SYLVIS and its partners are able to redefine mine reclamation, advance renewable energy development and help climate change mitigation through BIOSALIX in a way that can benefit Albertans and Canada as a whole.”

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