Ontario and Canada Investing in Clean Energy Production Using Forest Biomass

Image Source: PA Files

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Funding will help establish Canada’s only renewable natural gas facility to exclusively use woody by-products

THOROLD – The governments of Ontario and Canada are investing more than $11.3 million to expand CHAR Technologies’ facility in Thorold to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) and biocarbon – creating the largest facility of its kind in Canada, and the only RNG facility in the country to exclusively use woody biomass. Expanding CHAR’s Thorold facility will create close to 40 new direct and indirect jobs, as well as 20 construction jobs.

“This new facility will produce clean alternative fuels and increase sustainability in the forest sector through new and emerging uses of renewable forest biomass,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Our investment in CHAR Technologies is an investment in Ontario, which will boost productivity, create jobs and support a thriving forest economy that communities throughout the province depend on.”

Joint funding is being made available through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, as well as Ontario’s own Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program.

“Congratulations to CHAR Technologies on the development of a novel facility that will help to reduce emissions while creating jobs for Canadians,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “This facility will help displace fossil fuel combustion while diverting wood waste from being burned or landfilled. This will reduce carbon and methane emissions while contributing to Canada’s ambitious climate goals. The Government of Canada is pleased to support this important work.”

CHAR Technologies has developed new technology to produce clean energy from woody biomass, including unused tree parts and mill by-products like bark, shavings and sawdust. Each year, the new facility will produce 10,000 tonnes of biocarbon as a coal fuel alternative for Ontario’s heavy industries, and enough renewable natural gas to heat over 5,500 homes.

“Thanks to the confidence and support from the governments of Canada and Ontario, CHAR is proud to demonstrate what can be accomplished when industry and governments work together towards a green energy transition,” said Andrew White, CEO of CHAR Technologies. “Today represents climate change action in action and is a major win for Canada’s growing bioeconomy as we move towards a Net Zero future in collaboration with Ontario’s resilient forestry sector.”

By providing alternative fuels, the project will directly reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30,000 tonnes each year. Diverting mill by-products from landfill will further avoid and reduce indirect emissions by as much as 30,000 tonnes annually, with a combined effect equivalent to taking 18,000 cars off the road.


Quick Facts

  • The Government of Ontario is providing $6.4 million for the project through the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program, a business support program designed to improve productivity and innovation, enhance competitiveness, support new market access and strengthen regional economies.
  • Natural Resources Canada is providing $4.9 million for the project through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program.
  • The Forest Biomass Action Plan is a five-year plan that encourages the use of forest biomass resources to secure jobs, support economic development and encourage sustainability in Ontario’s forest sector. Forest biomass has many current and emerging uses, including as a source of low-carbon consumer products and renewable energy.
  • Industrial clean gas manufacturing is set to grow by 4 per cent between 2021 and 2026 with a specific focus on reducing environment impact.
  • The forest sector generated $18 billion in revenue from the sale of manufactured goods and services in 2020 and supported more than 148,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2021.
  • Wood produced from Ontario’s Crown forests is sustainably sourced and renewable. Wood is a renewable resource, a clean energy source, and a sustainable – and biodegradable – alternative to single-use plastics.

Quotes

"Made-in-Ontario solutions like CHAR Technologies’ new technology help to keep Ontario at the forefront of global innovation. Our government is proud to support CHAR Technologies as they bring their innovative technology to market and create good-paying jobs for families in Thorold."

- Vic Fedeli
Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

"Our government is proud to support the important work that CHAR Technologies is doing to advance Ontario-made solutions that will help us to meet our climate goals and grow Ontario’s green economy. As the largest facility of its kind in Canada, this investment will leverage Ontario’s expertise in clean technologies, further reduce emissions by diverting mill by-products from landfills and keep our private sector at the forefront of this renewable energy innovation."

- David Piccini
Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

"By supporting the production of renewable natural gas and biocarbon, Ontario will continue to be a leader in clean energy technologies. This investment will create jobs, grow the local economy and create a new source of flexible and adaptable renewable natural gas."

- Todd Smith
Minister of Energy

"For over a decade, CHAR Technologies has been a North American leader in cleantech development and environmental services. Today's announcement regarding a new renewable forest biomass production facility in Thorold is good news for workers in Niagara, as well as the clean energy and forestry sectors across Ontario."

- Sam Oosterhoff
Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara West

"Today’s $4.9-million investment is another example of how the Government of Canada is supporting sustainable jobs, innovative technologies and green businesses. This support will help CHAR Technologies Thorold Inc. use wood waste to produce renewable natural gas, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the decarbonization of Canadian industry. This investment also exhibits the government’s commitment in strengthening the economy in Niagara Centre and its confidence in the Niagara Ports Multimodal Trade Corridor and all of its partners to help achieve expected economic outcomes."

- Vance Badawey
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre


Source: Government of Ontario