Biofuels Firm Considers Buying Tolko Site In B.C.

When the Tolko Industries mill in Merritt shut down in December, Mike Heron took a long look at the community that had just lost more than 200 jobs and saw an opportunity. “It happened when I came here around Christmastime. I had a chance to learn about Tolko unfortunately having to close it’s doors, at […]

When the Tolko Industries mill in Merritt shut down in December, Mike Heron took a long look at the community that had just lost more than 200 jobs and saw an opportunity.

“It happened when I came here around Christmastime. I had a chance to learn about Tolko unfortunately having to close it’s doors, at the time leaving a significant gap for a community the size of Merritt,” said Heron, who is the president of IES Energy Inc. He started to put together what he called a “wishlist” for the City of Merritt — ideas to bring large-scale industry into the Nicola Valley to replace the jobs lost by the Tolko closure.

While Heron was cultivating ideas for other projects, a friend tipped him off about Woodland Biofuels, a company based out of Ontario that was pioneering the use of wood waste to create ethanol — which is then sold for use as a fuel additive.

Most ethanol plants in North America use food materials as a feedstock, particularly corn, but the process introduced by Woodland Biofuels uses primarily wood waste as a feedstock, explained Heron. “They are able to create the ethanol at literally half the cost of what is being produced from corn. To us, that really creates a competitive advantage altogether,” he said.

The company has already constructed a demonstration plant in Sarnia, Ont., and has been looking since 2014 for a spot to build a full-scale operation.

From the Merritt Herald: http://www.merrittherald.com/firm-considers-buying-tolko-site-merritt/

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