Millar Western Bioenergy Effluent Project at Whitecourt Mill Gets Major Funding

Millar Western's pulp mill in Alberta, Canada.

Aug. 9, 2011 - A special event was held on August 5 at Millar Western's pulp mill in Whitecourt, Aberta, Canada where the Government of Alberta announced $17.5 million in funding for a company project aimed at generating clean energy from waste.

The grant, allocated from Alberta's ecoTrust program, will help fund the installation of innovative technology to convert organic material from pulp-mill effluent into a biogas that will generate power and heat, displacing fossil fuels in mill processes.

The proposed Bioenergy Effluent Project will involve the installation of an anaerobic hybrid digester (AHD) to pre-treat wastewater and produce a biogas that will generate green electricity.

"In addition to reducing our environmental footprint here at home, advanced technologies like AHD can give us a marketing advantage, setting Alberta's forest products industry apart as innovative and green," said Ron Reis, Millar Western's Senior Vice-President of Pulp.

The AHD technology will also lower the mill's direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by about 50,000 tonnes per year, reduce water consumption, improve the quality of treated wastewater discharges, and cut the production of solid organic waste in half

The Bioenergy Effluent Project is expected to deliver significant environmental benefits, including lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced water consumption, improvements in the quality of treated effluent discharges to receiving waters, and cuts in the production of solid organic waste.

The project is now in the process of pursuing the necessary permits and, if approved, will take two years to complete.

Provincial funding for the project comes from Alberta’s share of the Canada ecoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change.

The Whitecourt pulp mill began production in 1988. Originally designed to produce 210,000 air-dried metric tonnes (ADMT) of bleached-chemi-thermo mechancial pulp (BCTMP) per year, the mill's capacity today stands at 310,000 ADMT.

SOURCE: Millar Western