Bio coal plan shifts

THAT COMPANY that wants to turn waste wood into a coal-like substance here is changing partners and locations.

  • Nov. 15, 2011 8:00 a.m.

THAT COMPANY that wants to turn waste wood into a coal-like substance here is changing partners and locations.

Global Bio-Coal Energy official Bill McIntyre said last week it won’t be going ahead with a partnership with Coast Tsimshian Resources, which is owned by the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation.

The deal, celebrated the third week of September 2010 by Global Bio-Coal, Coast Tsimshian, city and provincial officials, would have seen a $30 million mill be built on one portion of the Coast Tsimshian-owned Poirier log yard located on the far western end of Keith Ave.

“We are continuing to look at Terrace,” said McInytre. “We have had discussion with another First Nations community who have land.”

McIntyre said he was not at liberty to yet disclose the name of the First Nation, the planned new location for the plant or any other details.

McIntyre said there was no single argument or disagreement between Global and Coast Tsimshian that ended the partnership.

“I’m not exactly sure what happened,” said McIntyre. “Sometimes you go down a road with someone and it doesn’t work out.”

He did add that Global would gladly strike a deal to buy fibre from Coast Tsimshian for use in its eventual plant here.

Although McInytre said Global Bio-Coal is working on another deal with another First Nation, it has been looking elsewhere. “I would like to say we are getting close to getting another deal up there. But is it going to happen soon? No. Is Terrace first on the list now? Unfortunately, no.”

Instead, Global Bio-Coal has found another partner with another piece of land and access to fibre in the Central Interior.

McIntyre declined to provide many other details but did say an announcement could be made by the end of December.

And he said the Central Interior plant would have two phases, installation of a machine to produce 180,000 tonnes of bio coal followed shortly by a second machine of the same size.

“And I can tell you the second plant would follow closely on the heels of the first,” McIntyre added. He said each of the two planned machines for the Central Interior plant would use 300,000 of raw material a year to produce 180,000 tonnes of product. Bio-coal resembles real coal when it comes to colour and is produced by a combination of pressure and heat which takes water out of the raw material and creates a denser product which can generate heat when burned.

It is being used to replace real coal in European power plants, producing fewer emissions. The change in partners and in locations is one of several changes Global has made since it announced plans more than a year ago to build a plant in Terrace.

Initially, the company said it was going to use a microwave technology from an English company.

It now says it will use a machine built in New Jersey, saying that technology is better for what it has in mind.

McIntyre said the company was also working on lining up the financing needed for the project.

Wayne Drury from Coast Tsimshian Resources said it began to get worried about the kind of technology that would be used.

“To us, it became apparent the torrefaction process for a commercial operation was still somewhere down the road,” he said. “We just couldn’t wait for the technology to catch up to where we want to be,” Drury added.