Ethanol plant construction begins in Alberta


Construction has begun on an ethanol plant beside the Growing Power Hairy Hill biorefinery in northeastern Alberta.

In August, the facility will start to buy 110,000 tonnes of wheat and triticale from local farmers for ethanol production.

The 40 million litre ethanol plant will produce wet distillers grain for the adjacent 36,000 head Highland Feeders feedlot and ethanol for the Alberta market.

The facility will specialize in producing ultra low-carbon fuel ethanol that exceeds the most stringent carbon standards in the world, said chief executive officer Shane Crapo.

“It’s the lowest carbon fuel on the planet.”

Manure from the feedlot will feed the biodigestor to produce manure fertilizer, electricity and natural gas, which will both run the facility and be sold onto the electricity grid.

“We’re not using any fossil fuels in the production of electricity and renewable natural gas,” said Chrapko.

Co-owner Bern Kotelko said the ethanol would be sold to local blenders in Edmonton. Because of its low carbon footprint, the ethanol could potentially be sold to jurisdictions that have stringent low carbon fuel requirements, such as California.

Growing Power Hairy Hill’s $110 million biorefinery started generating electricity from manure in 2005. The plant processes cattle manure, landfill waste and slaughterhouse byproducts into electricity.

About 25 tonnes of waste from the Olymel hog slaughter plant is trucked to the biodigestor each day. Solid waste from Edmonton is also used.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful story in the making of energy from waste and using it in another renewable process,” said Chrapko.

Construction of the ethanol plant was scheduled to begin a year ago, but was delayed because of the global economic downturn.

“We’ve gone through hell and back since 2008,” said Chrapko.

“It took persistence in putting the final package together when everyone was pulling in their horns.”

Providence Grain Solutions, a local grain company, will manage grain purchases.

Growing Power Hairy Hill is an Alberta-owned, private limited partnership with more than 100 investors.

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