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FPInnovations and Bioénergie La Tuque enter biorefinery collaboration deal

FPInnovations and Bioénergie La Tuque (BELT) have announced the signing of a collaborative agreement, the main purpose of which is to lead to the setting up of a forest residue based biorefinery in La Tuque, Canada.

FPInnovations and Bioénergie La Tuque have signed an agreement to investigate the possibility of setting up a forest based biorefinery in La Tuque, Quebec.

Canada-based FPInnovations, a not-for-profit forest and forest industry research, development and deployment provider and Bioénergie La Tuque (BELT), a not-for-profit organization for the development of the bioenergy sector in the area of La Tuque, Quebec have announced the signing of a collaborative agreement, the main purpose of which is to lead to the installation of a biorefinery facility supplied with forest residues.

Three-phase project

The agreement has an initial term of four years and consists of three phases. The first phase includes assessing the technical and economic feasibility of the biorefinery project and confirming the availability of biomass at a competitive cost, identifying technological bottlenecks in the most promising process lines, and determining an acceptable technical and economical level of risk.

Phase 2 of the agreement includes a detailed evaluation of the technologies identified in Phase 1; this phase will be assigned specifically to FPInnovations’ research teams, in collaboration with BELT and the developing regional bioeconomy/bioenergy chair from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) held by Patrice J. Mangin, General Manager of BELT.

The fact that a centre with a national and international reputation, and a centre with experts and experience like FPInnovations, shows everyone that this project, which has been in the making for several years, has now reached a decisive point that will expedite subsequent work and decision-making. The project will benefit from very close attention from the provincial and federal governments, said Patrice Mangin, General Manager of BELT and holder of the regional bioeconomy/bioenergy chair at UQTR.

The construction of a demonstration plant in La Tuque, with a defined capacity based on results obtained during Phases 1 and 2, represents Phase 3 of the project. FPInnovations will act as a key player with regard to R&D and evaluation studies, while P.J. Mangin of BELT will lead the management of major projects and Patrice Bergeron, President of BELT will provide forest expertise.

This partnership can only lead us to the completion of this important project, and we are very confident that we will get there faster and more efficiently than expected, said Patrice Bergeron, President of BELT.

The project resulting from the collaboration between FPInnovations and BELT aims at producing more than 200 million litres of biodiesel annually from the conversion of forest residues. This biofuel should replace non-renewable fuels in transportation, therefore leading to a projected annual reduction in fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 575 000 tonnes.

FPInnovations is proud to be part of the BELT project, which is perfectly in line with the environmental strategy of the organization and supports the energy policies of both the Québec and Canada governments. In addition to having a positive impact on climate changes, the production of clean energy from forest biomass fits perfectly with FPInnovations’ vision, that is, a world where products from sustainable forests contribute toward all aspects of daily life, said Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO of FPInnovations.

The project should also result in the creation of nearly 500 direct and indirect jobs in the region. Ultimately, the project aims at attracting major partners interested in investing in a commercial plant. Phases 1 and 2 will serve to reassure such investors.

With its 490 new jobs, the project represents the future of La Tuque. We could pass on an opportunity to form an alliance with Canada’s best in this field: the people of FPInnovations. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to take advantage of their competencies, contact networks, and expertise. This is a huge step toward the realization of this project, said Normand Beaudoin, Mayor of La Tuque.

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