By COLLIN GALLANT on March 25, 2020.
A location of a proposed waste-to-diesel refinery in the Medicine Hat area has been announced by the company behind the project and a local investment group with the potential for a final deal to be signed this summer.
At the same time the company revealed that the lead of a local investors group is Ryan Jackson, a well-known business man who until last spring led the City of Medicine Hat’s investment attraction effort.
“We are extremely pleased to have found a location that is situated within Cypress County where local investors and partners reside that share our vision of creating a world class facility,” said Jackson in a joint statement.
Cielo Waste Systems stated Tuesday that land east of Dunmore, near the Trans-Canada Highway weigh scales, is subject to an agreement in principle. The goal is to build the $50-million plant – likely to grind rail ties and convert them to bio-diesel fuel – three kilometres from the Hamlet between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific main rail line.
Jackson told the News on Tuesday that the announcement was a bright spot amid a lot of general concern about the economy, but the timing wasn’t scheduled in a particular fashion.
“We finished the deal on the weekend, and geez, why not put it out there,” he said. “Publicly traded companies (like Cielo) are required to put out news, and they expose good news whenever they can.”
The construction of the facility could lead to 50 to 75 jobs over the 18 months, then 20 full-time operations staff would be needed thereafter at the facility that officials say will resemble a tank farm.
Joint venture partner, Renewable U Medicine Hat, has also informed the company that it looks to have financing in place in coming months and the deal could close July 1.
Cielo CEO Don Allan said that after evaluating several locations in southeast Alberta, the 80-acre parcel in Cypress County is “perfectly located and ideal for future expansion opportunities.”
“We are extremely excited to see our partners show their conviction and belief in CIELO by initiating this significant investment.
“This will allow Cielo to move forward with the applicable regulators and local residents to apprise them of our plans to build a green facility to convert waste into renewable fuels.”
Last fall the company announced it had secured millions of railway ties that CP Rail would otherwise have to dispose of as they are replaced in annual maintenance. Alberta-based Cielo also has initial agreements in place toward getting refineries placed in Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Calgary and Halifax.
The company claims the process converts any material with a cellular base – organic matter, farm waste, wood fibre, even plastics, tires and municipal trash – into high-quality diesel fuel.
Cielo states that a facility model currently under design could operate at a rate of 8 tonnes of feedstock per hour.
Vehicle diesel fuel sold in Canada must meet a provincially set standards portion of bio-diesel content, but most of the bio-fuel for blending is imported.
A Cielo corporate update on Monday stated that the firm had discussions with federal government officials in relation to national programs regarding methane reduction (buried municipal waste produces the greenhouse gas), as well as a plastics strategy. Both major planks of the federal Liberals climate action plan were to be introduced in 2020 and 2021.
It also announced the production from the prototype refinery near High River is now subject to third-party testing on behalf of an unnamed industrial customer.