In Canada, the City of Calgary and Canadian-Danish advanced biofuel technology developer Steeper Energy Canada Ltd (Steeper Energy) have announced a new cooperation agreement, by way of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), regarding the future transformation of the City’s sewage sludge and other urban-generated bio-organic wastes for the production of sustainable biofuels such as renewable diesel or jet fuel.
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According to a statement, the MoU formalizes the intent of the City and Steeper Energy to see the development of a demonstration plant at the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in South-East Calgary.
The City has agreed to host Steeper Energy at its state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), as well as to supply a small portion of Calgary’s primary and secondary sewage sludge to produce advanced biofuels, such as renewable diesel or jet fuel, via Steeper’s proprietary Hydrofaction technology.
This innovative venture highlights how the City of Calgary is partnering with businesses to lower costs, help the environment, and jumpstart diversification of our economy, said City of Calgary, Councillor Ward Sutherland.
Utilize sewage sludge
The proposed project will be a collaborative effort towards sustainable practices, the elimination of contaminants contained in sewage sludge, such as spent pharmaceuticals and microplastics, as well as advancing cleantech in Calgary.
In addition to biofuel production, the process converts and eliminates wastewater contaminants such as microplastics and pharmaceuticals and isolates heavy metals.
The technology also allows for the capture of beneficial nutrients from sewage such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which can later be made available for other beneficial reuse as fertilizer.
Steeper Energy is an example of an innovative Calgary start-up that is an emerging force in our cleantech ecosystem by applying innovative thinking and advanced technology to turn municipal wastewater into advanced biofuels. When we talk about Calgary being a centre of excellence in all things energy, Steeper is doing the type of ground-breaking work that expands our horizons to the future of our energy sources, said Mary Moran, President, and CEO of Calgary Economic Development.
The City and Steeper Energy have the shared objective of serving the public interest through:
- Accelerating the transition to a Circular Economy – building economic, natural, and social capital;
- The production of renewable transportation fuels by recovering the inherent energy in wastewater and household green-bin wastes via Hydrofaction;
- Addressing the complex land and water issues associated with the accumulation and disposal of unused biosolids, while recovering valuable minerals such as phosphorus and nitrogen;
- Increasing investment in sustainable transport fuels in/for the City of Calgary while leveraging local expertise and creating employment opportunities.
Upon concluding final arrangements with The City and the approval from Steeper’s board of directors, the project could break ground in early 2021.
The new plant will be North America’s first demonstration of Steeper’s proven Hydrofaction technology – a patented thermo-chemical process that converts bio-organic wastes (including sewage sludge, food, or forestry wastes) into renewable biofuels.
Currently, development is ongoing at Steeper’s pilot plant in Denmark.
The Calgary Urban-Waste Demonstration Project at Pine Creek represents the next phase of Steeper’s commercialization of Hydrofaction and will open exciting new market opportunities for Steeper globally. The transformation of sewage sludge and other urban-generated biomass wastes to sustainable transport fuels delivers multiple environmental and social benefits and takes advantage of Calgary’s reputation as a global energy innovator, said Perry Toms, CEO of Steeper Energy.