Airex Energy, Groupe Rémabec and SUEZ to create North America’s largest biochar plant
The first phase of the plant will be finalised in 2024, with an initial production capacity of 10,000 tonnes per year.
By 2026, annual production capacity is expected to triple, making it the largest biochar plant in North America.
This is the first project resulting from the partnership between SUEZ and Airex Energy which aims to produce 350,000 tonnes of biochar by 2035.
The facility, owned by CARBONITY, a joint-venture equally owned by the three partners, will employ 75 people locally.
It will produce a carbon-rich biochar with high environmental qualities from the residual biomass of Groupe Rémabec's operations. Biochar is a material with highly promising environmental benefits, identified by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of five negative-emission solutions to curb global warming and help achieve the carbon-neutral targets set by the Paris agreements.
This first Canadian facility will leverage the cutting-edge equipment, profound expertise, and groundbreaking CarbonFX™ pyrolysis technology developed by Airex Energy as well as on the expertise of SUEZ, a world leader in the transformation and valorisation of organic waste, agricultural soil enhancement, biofertilisers, and new resources from the circular economy.
"We are delighted to be a partner in this major project, which represents an unparalleled opportunity for decarbonisation in Québec. This project is the perfect example of the growth and decarbonisation strategy advocated by the Québec government," explained Michel Gagnon, CEO of Airex Energy and chairman of the joint venture. "This project brings to the forefront CarbonFX™ technology, an innovation proudly developed in Québec, which is now considered a benchmark worldwide," he added.
"By transforming forest and agricultural residues into carbon sinks and fertilisers, SUEZ creates value over the entire lifecycle of the material. SUEZ will leverage its expertise in constructing and operating industrial facilities to enable the global deployment of this groundbreaking decarbonisation solution," said Yves Rannou, chief operating officer recycling & recovery, executive vice-president of SUEZ.
"With our partners Airex Energy and SUEZ, we are aiming on creating a more sustainable economy by accelerating decarbonisation. We are committed to promoting innovation, fostering new technologies and investing in solutions to tackle climate change head-on, while providing the forest industry with new opportunities. Together, we can build a more sustainable and prosperous future," said president and chief operating officer of Groupe Rémabec, Réjean Paré.
This project was made possible thanks to the financial participation of the Quebec and Canadian governments.
"Government of Canada has made concrete commitments to demonstrate that a strong economy and a healthy environment go hand-in-hand. That is why Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) is granting a repayable contribution of $3m (€2m) to CARBONITY for its set up project in Port-Cartier.
"By assisting startups and supporting innovation in the development of greener technologies and products, we are paving the way for the jobs of tomorrow," said the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Member of Parliament for Brome-Missisquoi, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED.