The Government of Canada is backing a project in Alberta to turn a former operating coal mine in the region into a renewable energy operation.
Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, last week announced C$3.8 million ($2.8 million) in funding to the BIOSALIX program, a renewable energy coal mine reclamation project near Forestburg, Alberta.
A collaborative effort led by environmental consulting firm Sylvis, the project uses municipal organic waste as an additive to generate the conditions to grow a willow crop on the reclaimed land, Natural Resources Canada said. The willow is then harvested to create a woody biomass that can be used to produce renewable heat, energy and other products.
According to Slyvis, the project is the first of its type and size, providing a path for clean energy growth through the transition of prairie coal mines to biomass production while providing mining communities with economical stability through the development of a cleantech economy.
“Overall, this project will help municipalities manage their organic waste, grow a renewable feedstock to produce bioenergy, reclaim expired mine land and create new opportunities for communities affected by coal mine closures,” NRC said.
Federal funding for the project will be provided through Natural Resource Canada’s Clean Growth Program. Further funding in the amounts of C$1.5 and C$2 million will be provided respectively by Alberta Innovates and Emission Reductions Alberta. Natural Resource Canada’s Canadian Forest Service will also lend its biomass research and expertise to the project.
The Clean Growth Program is a C$155-million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.