The governments of Ontario and Canada are investing more than $11.3 million to expand CHAR Technologies’ pyrolysis facility in Thorold South.
On Tuesday morning, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Graydon Smith, traveled to the Multimodal Hub in Thorold South to announce province's portion of the funding: $6.4 million.
“Our government is committed to invest in new and emerging technologies to position Ontario as a world leader in the use of forest bio-mass,” Smith told the gathered crowd. “This important funding will help the company expand its demonstration plant to build the largest bio-mass renewable natural gas facility in Canada.”
As ThoroldToday previously reported, CHAR Technologies is building a pyrolysis facility at the Thorold Multimodal Hub. Pyrolysis is a heating process that converts discarded wood into renewable natural gas and bio-carbons, in an effort to provide other industries with a cleaner energy source.
In his speech, Smith highlighted how the use of bio-carbon could reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30,000 tonnes a year.
“This notion of a circular economy, this notion that we are sustainable and green, is one that of course resonates with everyone and is incredibly important,” Smith said. “A strong forestry industry means a strong Ontario.”
Natural Resources Canada is pledging another $4.9 million to the project through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program. In October, the federal government already invested $1.5 million in the facility.
Andrew White, the CEO of CHAR Technologies, says the investments will go a long way to expanding the facility.
“It’s been years in the making,” White tells ThoroldToday. “The fact that we have the funding now to build the larger facility, it’s really exciting.”
Some local residents have voiced concerns about the pyrolysis facility because it is fairly new technology. CHAR has been open to answering questions from the community, even going so far as to organize public information sessions earlier this year.
Smith, for his part, believes that pyrolysis technology could be a game changer for the province.
“It really goes back to that long-term vision we have in our bio-mass action plan,” Smith explains to ThoroldToday. “We want a high-functioning sustainable forestry industry that’s using all parts that are available to make sure that our energy production and the opportunities are being utilized.”
The pyrolysis facility will create close to 40 new direct and indirect jobs, as well as 20 construction jobs.
CHAR Technologies hopes to have the expanded facility fully operational by 2025.