Biocoal facility in works

Port Alberni’s offerings to overseas markets can soon expand if a proposal to the Port Alberni Port Authority is deemed viable.

Called the Charcoal Project, a proposal is being offered to PAPA by a British Columbian company to use facilities and part of the docks to create biocoal from biomass.

Biomass is a plant-based material, which can be considered wood and wood debris. The plan is to utilize wood debris not being used from sites to create biocoal, a carbon-based fuel that is an alternative to oil.

This biocoal will be made in a local warehouse, stored in containers provided by the Port Authority and shipped to China, according to Zoran Knezevic, CEO of the Port Authority.

“[Port Authority is] contemplating on potentially lending some of the facilities… a couple sheds and some area of the port.”

Knezevic said the process starts with taking leftover wood, or the leftover fibers in the wood from the forest, which is brought to an oven stored in the warehouse.

By applying heat to the wood without oxygen, a component is taken from the wood and biocoal is created.

These byproducts will be transported to China and used as fuel to facilitate silicon production.

The final product, a form of charcoal and activated carbon, can also be used in things like water filters in Brita, according to Knezevic.

The company is considering using a local company’s biomass to fuel the oven.

Brad Berry was approached by the company as his company, B. Berry Enterprises, makes postharvest logging debris.

“We hope to have it wrapped up before the end of the year,”

Knezevic said. “We are working as quickly as we can… we’re doing our job here to facilitate the economic opportunity,” said Dave McCormick, director of public relations and business development.

“There were a number of different locations throughout British Columbia that were considered and Port Alberni has thus far risen to the top as the preferred location for a number of factors in the community.”

If the proposal does go through, around 20 jobs will become available. There is also “potential for growth for that business,” McCormick said.

When addressed about potential environmental concerns, Knezevic said “as far as we can see there is no environmental concerns. The component has talked to the Ministry of Environment and they will do all the proper steps required so that all the environmental issues will be addressed if any.

“We will be removing the leftover fiber from the forest and using it instead of burning it,” Knezevic noted.

Biocoal is considered more ecofriendly than regular biomass as a fuel because it doesn’t release carbon dioxide into the atmospher, he said.

Thus far, “the company is reviewing a draft agreement as well as other factors that they need to confirm before they go ahead with the final decision,” McCormick said. “We are doing our best to ensure that we are acting on the best interest of the community and of the port authority in order to come to an agreement that will provide a number of different benefits for the region.” McCormick noted it is just a proposal at this point, and nothing has been finalized.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” he said.

Just Posted

First Nations youth Warrior Program revives cultural teachings

“The program is designed for leadership development, and these guys are shining.”

Ucluelet releases draft Climate Action Plan

Potential opportunity exists to brand town as a ‘low-carbon tourism leader’.

Ucluelet Aquarium model spawning inspiration worldwide

Groups from B.C., Nova Scotia, the State of Washington and Scotland are learning from Ucluelet.

Tofino’s housing crisis spilling into hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Most Read