Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you to the committee members for allowing me the opportunity to speak before you today via wonderful technology. I haven't done too many of these video conferences, so please bear with me if I'm looking at you from the corner of my eye or something.
I'm here today representing the BioWaste to Energy for Canada Integration Initiative, BECii, for short. I'll refer to it as BECii throughout because the long form of the acronym gets a little cumbersome over time, but does represent what we're all about.
I want to touch on a few points in the 10 minutes that you've offered me here. I'll speak about the purpose of BECii, the facilities we've put together, as well as the member organizations inside BECii, to give a bit of a flavour of what the organization does, can do, and is looking to do in the future. I'll also speak about our vision for biowaste with regard to municipal solid waste and industrial waste.
I don't think I'd be letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak, too early, by saying that we have a vision in this space of making landfills obsolete. It's at least a three-part solution, but uses currently available technology that our members could offer, as well as many others in the industrial space.
BECii is a not-for-profit organization, founded by a number of companies. While it's not for profit, it's unapologetically commercial and targeted to enhance the commercial success of its members. The member companies who founded BECii recognized fairly early on that there is no silver-bullet technology for biowaste. Any comprehensive solution to municipal waste, IC and I waste, C and D waste, all of the waste streams that end up in a landfill, requires at least multiple technologies working together in order to handle them completely .
Now, we also recognize that many new discoveries and technologies occur when existing technologies are interfaced. The intersection or the boundary effect of technology is something that we wanted to work to further. Therefore, BECii exists to promote and facilitate the integration and intersection of technologies in this space. In order to do that, we had to bring together a number of companies, which I'll name, but we also had to bring together some facilities. BECii is a virtual and physical organization—virtual, in that we can span anywhere in the country and conceivably anywhere in the world, through projects that member companies are doing in the integration with each other just about anywhere.
We do have physical location, at the site of the first integrated biorefinery in Canada, which is about 20 kilometres north of the community of Vegreville, Alberta. Some of you may be familiar with it because our very large immigration claims processing facility is also in Vegreville.
What we've been able to put together physically on site is a $3.5-million building envelope, which was co-funded by Western Economic Diversification, the Province of Alberta, and the industrial members who formed BECii. It comprises a fairly large wet lab space, pilot plant space, machine shops, working space for those who wear suits, classrooms, boardrooms, and a larger, what we'll call, a campus space for additional pilot plants. That collocation with the existing integrated biorefinery—and I'll touch on that in a bit because a biorefinery is one of our members—allows eventual commercial-scale integrations right there on site, where people are familiar with it.
With regard to the BECii members, there are 10 current members. I'll list them off fairly quickly, but you can find the list on our website. I'll start with Algae Grow and Harvest Technology Incorporated, which works on improved algae productions. It sounds out there, but it uses the recycled nutrients from waste to promote the growth of algae.
Biomass Technologies Incorporated works on soil improvement products and novel ways of agglomerating materials together, so they're on the back end of the value chain. Emergent Waste Solutions is a pyrolysis-focused company. They are not looking so much at pyrolysis, but at the energy product that can come from pyrolysis, and also the high-value co-products that come from activated carbon and carbon black.
Ever Green Ecological Services is a waste collection company. They are involved in the design of superior, high-efficiency materials recovery facilities, or MRFs—you will hear in your study that acronym fairly frequently—as well as recycling.
Grow the Energy Circle Limited, a.k.a. GrowTEC, is a zero-waste agriculture organization with its own integrated biorefinery under construction. MacEwan University is an academic partner of BECii, and does a lot of analytical chemistry for the members. Growing Power Hairy Hill is our host site for the BECii facility as well as Canada's first integrated biorefinery. It comprises the largest anaerobic digester facility in Canada. It takes up to 300 tonnes of material per day. That includes 200 tonnes of municipal solid waste-derived organics per day into anaerobic digestion and produces a very large amount of biogas sufficient to produce electricity to power a collocated 10-million gallon or 40-million litre per year ethanol facility.
Both of these facilities are also collocated with a very large cattle feed lot, and all the waste products, as you might imagine, from one proceed directly into the next so there are no low-value co-products of that integrated biorefinery. We call it the virtuous loop.
I'm happy to be an investor in that facility, and my company, Himark BioGas, of which I am the general manager in my day job, provides the anaerobic digestion technology for that facility. Himark is also a member of BECii, and we focus on anaerobic digestion technology. Specifically our technology allows for easier processing of municipal solid waste, what we would call a “traditionally contaminated” waste stream.
Other members are Symbiotic EnviroTek. They work on bioreactors for algae production specifically integrated with biorefineries, and tighten clean energy solutions and other pyrolysis organization with a focus solely on the production of biochar not on energy. It sounds like a lot, and you can maybe get a sense that we're painting a picture kind of like Monet with little flecks of paint here and there, and hopefully it will come into focus.
The BECii vision is to make landfills obsolete. That means, as our first speaker spoke very well of, that the recovery of highest-value materials should go in the place where they have their highest use. Now, I want to make the point that energy is generally the lowest-value use—so straight incineration, combustion, that sort of thing, is very much less desirable than recycling and bringing things back in the clean materials cycle. So the materials recovery facility becomes a linchpin in any of these solutions where we can create a divergence of the waste stream and bring it into, let's call it, the three macro categories.
Our three macro categories are organic, fresh, and MSW. So the organics are the stuff that will rot. For the recyclables, it should be obvious they have value; and “combustibles”. We like to see combustibles go to partial combustion, which is gasification or pyrolysis because of that low value of energy. You can get rid of stuff through gasification and pyrolysis, but you also get a higher value co-product coming out of it either char, activated carbon, or carbon black. These things are highly valuable.
Going back to organics, it shouldn't be a surprise you can recover energy in a renewable dispatchable form, reduce emissions both directly and from offsetting, and put some recalcitrant carbon leftovers to higher use. So there is a bit of recycling even in anaerobic digestion.
Most importantly we reduce the bad actors with anaerobic digestion, so you take away the odour, the ooze, the disease, and the pest animals such as rats, seagulls, and cockroaches from the equation. This allows a repositioning of waste management as a true commercial business, bringing it into the forefront rather than over the horizon where it has traditionally been forced to go.
There are some laudable policies out there. In my last 20 seconds I'll just talk about laudable policies that we can look at: landfill bans for organics or for other materials, as well as carbon pricing, as well as working very hard with antitrusts to promote competitive marketplaces in this space.
Thank you very much, members.