David Parker Around Town: Green Impact Partners plans huge carbon-negative project

Jesse Douglas, CEO of GIP, says it will be home to North America’s largest carbon-negative renewable natural gas project

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The 52 acres of bare land Green Impact Partners (GIP) plans to purchase from the city, at the southeast corner of Stoney Trail and Peigan Trail, will be transformed into its Future Energy Park.

Jesse Douglas, CEO of GIP, says it will be home to North America’s largest carbon-negative renewable natural gas project — an innovative enterprise connecting Alberta’s agriculture and energy sectors.

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Today, farmers are faced with an amount of Grade 3 waste wheat — caused by too much rain, hail, snow or other unmanageable situations — that they have to get rid of. Approximately 11 to 13 per cent of wheat produced in Canada each year does not meet Grade A standards, meaning it is not fit for human consumption. GIP will buy the low-grade wheat, expected to provide rural wheat producers with around $150 million annually, to produce ethanol and renewable natural gas.

The wheat is weighed, stored and crushed into coarse flour before being processed into ethanol that will be transported to fuel blending facilities in Alberta for distribution across North America.

Further processing will produce the natural gas that will be transported through the local gas distribution network to local utilities companies. Another byproduct at the end of the line of the biological process is a high-protein animal feed. Aerobic digestive tanks act like a cow’s stomach, reducing the methane in the feed by a substantial amount, which is an additional benefit to our environment.

So, the farmer wins at both ends of the production.

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Working with a team of architects, engineers, planners, environmental specialists and landscape architects, GIP’s massive plant will be a landmark facility showing the technological ingenuity involved in the production of renewable fuels.

Douglas says the city has been great to work with; subject to all construction approvals, the hope is to start construction within 120 days of receiving all necessary permits. What he believes will be the first integrated bio-fuel facility of its type, Future Energy Park will use high-efficiency gas-fired cogeneration technology to produce electricity, steam and hot water for use on the site.

The cogeneration plant will be equipped with two gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators and two steam stacks. It will have an output of 30MW with any surplus being supplied to the local energy grid.

The initial plant design includes 12 digestive tanks, cogeneration building, water treatment facility and the ethanol plant, plus truck bays, grain silos, a CO2 capture building and a natural gas pipeline.

It is estimated that 800 persons will be needed through the 24 months of construction, and 100 direct and indirect jobs will be created to maintain operations. Douglas and his leadership team at the head office of Green Impact Partners will stay located on 11th Avenue S.W.

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Based in Calgary, GIP is an international company with a growing portfolio of renewable natural gas and clean bio-energy projects under development, representing more than $2 billion in capital expenditures over the next three years. Focused on creating a more sustainable future and inclusive planet by developing clean energy, it has a dairy-to-pipeline renewable natural gas plant in production in Weld County, Colorado, and has announced another similar project in northwest Iowa.

Douglas says plans are in the early stages to build a second, big plant in Alberta, also using manure that will be converted into fertilizer.

“The culmination of nearly two years of technical and environmental review — along with extensive consultation and engagement with local stakeholders and Indigenous communities — is set to leave an indelible mark on the province’s energy landscape,” says Douglas. The $1.2-billion renewable biofuels facility in Future Energy Park will also provide significant income tax and property tax revenues to the province and city once operational.

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Mountain Warehouse has opened its newest Canadian store in Banff, along Banff Avenue, the third in its expansion plans for this country following stores in Richmond and Kingston earlier this year. The 6,980-square-foot space, spread over two floors, features men’s, women’s and kid’s wear, as well as footwear and equipment.

Founded by Mark Neale in 1997, Mountain Warehouse is the largest outdoor retailer in the United Kingdom with 240 stores nationwide and more than 350 stores globally, serving over four million outdoor-loving customers a year.

David Parker’s columns appear regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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