Canadian Biomass Magazine

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Plans for Prince George biomass-to-low-carbon biofuel plant project proceeding


October 6, 2021
By Arbios Biotech

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Plans are proceeding for the development of a biomass-to-low-carbon biofuel plant in Prince George, B.C. First-of-a-kind technology will be used to convert sawmill residues – primarily bark – into high-value renewable biocrude which can be further processed in refineries to produce low-carbon transportation fuels.

The Arbios Biotech project is a joint venture between Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (Canfor) and Licella Holdings Ltd.

“We are delighted to take this next step on our journey towards our vision of providing low carbon circular economy solutions around the world,” Don Roberts, chair of the Arbios board, said. “The evolution of this project will help B.C.’s and Canada’s suppliers of transportation fuels achieve their emissions and low-carbon targets.”

Roberts also announced that Alan Nicholl has been appointed to the role of president & CEO of Arbios, noting his strategic leadership and financial discipline will be critical assets as Arbios continues to develop and grow. Nicholl has been a member of the Arbios board and management committee since they were established.

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Arbios plans to begin initially with one processing line which will convert 25,000 dry tonnes of wood residue to 50,000 barrels of sustainable bio-oil per year – a direct substitute for fossil crude from post-consumer waste wood biomass. Scheduled to start producing renewable biocrude in the first half of 2023, the plant is planned to be built on a portion of Canfor’s Intercontinental Pulp Mill site, and Arbios will have the potential to expand up to four processing lines within the existing footprint.

The new Arbios plant will utilize Licella’s patented Cat-HTR decarbonization platform. The plant represents the next scale-up of its hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technology, building on the recent commissioning of Arbios’ CS-1 facility on the Central Coast of New South Wales (Australia), which continues to demonstrate the technology’s capacity to produce low-carbon products.

The project is within the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, with whom Arbios has been working closely on a plan for jointly developing the project, to understand their interest and to ensure meaningful commercial and practical participation for the Nation in the project. The proponents are also collaborating on an environmental due diligence process with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.

“Sustainably utilizing our resources to work towards a low-carbon future is highly important for the Lheidli T’enneh peoples,” Chief Dolleen Logan, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, said. “Since Arbios approached us about the project, we have been working closely together to ensure the values of the Nation are respected and protected.”

As an important step towards increasing availability of low-carbon transportation fuels, the project is receiving strong support from both federal and provincial government programs, including issuance of credits under B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements) Act; the Sustainable Development Technology Canada Fund; and the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines and Low Carbon Innovation’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund.

“Support from all of the government sources is sincerely appreciated, and special acknowledgement must be given to B.C.’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and its Part 3 Agreement with Arbios for helping us achieve this milestone,” Roberts said.

Canfor is committed to funding this phase of the project.