COMMITTEE PROPOSES AMENDMENTS TO EU’S RED II The environment committee of the European Parliament (ENVI) is suggesting amendments to the European Commission’s proposal on the use of energy from renewable sources (RED II), removing the option for countries that are not party to the Paris climate agreement to demonstrate sustainability of biomass at the forest holding level. The ENVI committee published two amendments to article 26, paragraph six of RED II, which deals with biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels produced from forest biomass. One of the amendments removes the entire second subparagraph, which was an option for those countries that are not signed on to the Paris climate agreement to provide evidence that management systems are in place at the forest holding level to ensure carbon stocks and sinks levels in the forests are maintained. If RED II passes with the amendment, it has the potential to prevent U.S. pellet producers from meeting the criteria to export to the EU. U.S. President Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement earlier this year. Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada, said in an interview the amendment would be catastrophic for both U.S. and Canadian pellet producers. “I don’t think there is any doubt the U.S. has a sustainable wood pellet industry. But a technical requirement within the proposal that requires you to be a part of Paris in order to qualify would remove the opportunity for them to demonstrate forest management at the holding level,” Murray said. “We’re worried that if that ENVI opinion is accepted, it has the potential to destabilize the international pellet market,” he said. “We need the Americans to have a healthy pellet industry in order for us all to prosper because they make up such a significant amount of the world’s supply.” Murray said he doesn’t have a clear idea what the likelihood is the amendments will be passed. The ENVI committee is expected to vote on the proposed amendments to RED II in mid October. RED II (Renewable Energy Directive) is a part of the European Commission’s Clean Energy Package, which, once passed by the European Parliament and European Council, will determine the EU’s clean energy rules up to 2030. The current package expires in 2020. GREENFIELD EVALUATES MAJOR BIOFUEL PRODUCTION EXPANSION Canada’s largest ethanol producer Greenfield Global has commenced a feasibility study to significantly expand operations for sustainable biofuel production at its biorefinery in Varennes, Que. The first ethanol plant built in Quebec, the Varennes distillery is a model for waste water management and energy efficiency. The plant already produces some of the lowest carbon fuel ethanol in North America and is on its way to becoming part of a state-ofthe- art biorefinery complex. The potential expansion stands to increase its annual ethanol production capacity by 70 per cent (from 170 mly to 300 mly). The feasibility study will also incorporate the adaptation of emerging advanced biofuels technologies using non-traditional feedstocks and processes. Enerlab to produce insulation panels using lignin An insulation manufacturer based in St-Mathieu de Beloeil, Que., has received federal funding for its project to replace petroleum-based raw materials with lignin. Enerlab 2000 plans to use its iso-lignin technology to produce insulating and structural panels made with lignin from pulp and paper processes. The project is expected to cut Enerlab’s production cost of raw materials by 20 per cent, as well as reduce the company’s environmental footprint. Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program announced today $1.34 million in funding to Enerlab 2000 to support the lignin project. “Today’s announcement is a further example of our government’s dedication to supporting renewable resources to further the advancement of clean technology in Canada. By using a waste product of the pulp and paper process in place of petroleum-based raw materials, Enerlab is helping address the challenge of climate change,” Michel Picard, MP for Montarville, said in a news release. S2G BEGINS WORK ON SARNIA ADVANCED BIOREFINERY S2G BioChem (S2G) has begun work on the company’s first standalone biorefinery demonstration plant in Sarnia, Ont. The commercial-scale facility will refine local, sustainable forestry and agricultural residues using S2G’s patented process to produce food ingredient xylitol available on the market today while co-producing value-add bioglycols for a new generation of consumer, industrial and packaging and products. “This is a very exciting time for S2G BioChem as we begin to execute our growth strategy to generate revenues from the production of fossil-free, value-add products,” Mark Kirby, president and CEO of S2G Biochem, said in a news release. “Locating this new biorefinery in Canada is important as its high efficiency and use of sustainable feedstocks will reduce greenhouse gas and effluent emissions. We will bring increased revenue to local feedstock suppliers; and we will gain invaluable experience before replicating this high-yield facility throughout North America and the rest of the world. The support from Bioindustrial Innovation Canada is an important step in securing funding for the project.” The biorefinery demonstration plant, projected to cost $20 million, will be funded by S2G and a network of investors and partners, including previously announced support from food giant Mondelëz International, who shares the vision and value of this renewable energy project. Funding will be provided by Bioindustrial Innovation Canada’s Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovation fund (COMM SCI). The biorefinery will have the capacity to produce over 2,000 MT/year of high-value xylitol and coproducts utilizing a range of feedstocks from forestry and agricultural residues. Basic engineering for the facility is underway and construction is expected to begin in 2018. RENTECH TO CANCEL REMAINING SHIPMENTS TO DRAX Rentech is in the midst of negotiations with U.K. utility Drax to cancel its outstanding wood pellet shipments for 2017, which amount to 193,000 metric tonnes, the company said in its quarterly report. Rentech idled its Wawa, Ont., facility and lowered production at its Atikokan, Ont., facility earlier this year in response to equipment and operational issues. The pellet producer has since emptied its Wawa facility to deliver 12,000 metric tonnes of pellets to Drax, and is now looking to cancel its remaining obligation of 193,000 metric tonnes for this year. “We are currently negotiating with Drax to cancel the remaining shipments in 2017. At this time, we cannot make a determination if any penalties will be associated with future changes to the contract. Rentech, Inc. has guaranteed the payment obligations of the Drax contract up to a maximum amount of CAD$20 million,” the company stated in its quarterly report. NEW NAME, NEW FOCUS FOR CANADA’S LONGESTRUNNING BIOENERGY EVENT The International Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition is being reborn as the Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition. The new name reflects a growth in the use of woody biomass from legacy industries such as wood pellet production and cogeneration to a full menu of products such as biofuels, biogas, biochemicals, biopharmaceuticals and other bioproducts. “The original name and mandate were chosen to focus attention on the emerging bioenergy industry in Northern BC and on creating a venue for Canadian wood pellet producers to connect and network with their customers and colleagues in other parts of the world,” explained Jim Martin, chair of the Board of Directors of the conference. “The bioenergy industry in Canada has grown and matured since we founded the conference in 2004. We felt it was important that, as the leading conference of its kind in Canada, we should reflect the diversification in the use of woody biomass across the full value chain of bioproducts.” North-Central British Columbia continues to be the largest producing region in Canada of wood pellets, and one of the largest in the world. It is home to Pinnacle Renewable Energy, Pacific Bioenergy and Premium Pellets, as well as to some of the longest-operating pulp mill cogeneration facilities in North America and a number of district energy systems. But with projects such as the groundbreaking Canfor-Licella biofuels project in conference host city Prince George, the industry is now moving quickly toward new technologies and new innovations in wood-based products that are fuelling the new bioeconomy. The new conference will continue its predecessor’s legacy of excellence in showcasing the innovation of the companies, organizations and researchers who make Canada a global leader of the bioeconomy. In addition to being home to numerous pellet companies, pulp and paper and cogeneration facilities, Prince George is also home to a wood-based district energy system connecting eleven buildings through its downtown, including the conference venue. In addition, bioenergy facilities at the Prince George campus of the University of Northern British Columbia are venues for research and have reduced the University’s consumption of fossil fuels for heating by about 85 per cent. The new Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition will take place in Prince George June 6-8, 2018. Register at www.bioeconomyconference.com.
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