It has been nearly a year since Canfor went public with its exploration of creating bio-crude from pulp operation waste streams.
“We are continuing to develop the project from a demonstration plant level to a commercial level” says Martin Pudlas, Vice President of Operations for Canfor Pulp.
That’s a huge step in the development of a sustainable fuel. “It’s a very big step, if it was easy, someone would have done it already.”
Pudlas says full time resources have been allocated to the project which is being done in partnership with Licella Fibre Fuels of Australia. ” We continue to work with a number of companies that have come forward, interested in the off take, which demonstrates that once we make this product it’s going to have very good value in the marketplace.”
Pudlas says some of the product has been sent to a refiner, which has “qualified it for use in the refineries, no its a matter of being able to make that product on a continuous basis.” He says that is phase they are in now and it will be a long journey.
While the bio-crude can be used to create fuels for traditional uses, it can also be used to create a wide variety of chemicals, not unlike its fossil fuel cousin.
Key to the equation of this venture being sustainable is knowing just how much bio-crude can be produced from the waste stream on a continual basis, “A rough number is you would get a barrel of crude from every half ton of fibre” says Pudlas “or a different way of looking at it, for every oven dried ton of fibre you can make two barrels of crude oil.”
Pudlas says the capital costs of developing a full bio crude production facility still have to be worked out, but says down the road, its believed this product would have a competitive price with oil being extracted from the oil sands in Alberta..