Steeper Energy collaborates with Invest Alberta to build biomass plant

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Steeper Energy (Steeper) has announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Invest Alberta Corporation (Invest Alberta) to commercialise Steeper’s proprietary Hydrofaction® technology within Alberta, Canada, aligning with Alberta’s broader goal of becoming the country’s cleantech leader.
Steeper’s Hydrofaction® technology is a proprietary form of Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) which, over Steeper’s 12-year history, has been proven capable of converting a wide range of biowaste feedstocks to flexible renewable biocrude.
Hydrofaction® biocrude can be used directly or upgraded for use as a renewable marine, diesel, or aviation fuel.
This MOU formalises the intent of Invest Alberta and Steeper to realise the development of a first-of-its-kind Hydrofaction® commercial plant in Alberta.
Steeper's first commercial plant will utilise third generation biomass, which it said is the most prolifically available on the planet, and includes wastes that have little-to-no commercial value. The biomass it will use is not utilised as a food, and does displace food-growing land, according to the company.
Examples of this are non-commercial forestry waste such as treetops, limbs, bark and sawdust, bagasse (sugar-cane waste) the biogenic portion of urban waste and corn stover (all the non-kernel portion of corn production).
In Alberta, Steeper’s first plant will specifically focus on the large volumes of forestry waste that would otherwise need to be burned to manage forest fire risk.
Invest Alberta will provide Steeper with support to build connections with project stakeholders, optimise potential incentives, advise regarding regulatory requirements and communicate the impact that this project will have on Alberta’s ever-expanding renewable energy landscape.
Steeper is actively identifying potential commercial partners and evaluating sites for construction of this project. This MOU aligns with efforts already underway in relation to activity under Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) where Steeper was awarded $5 million (€4.5m) in funding in 2021 focused on establishing a first commercial scale plant in Alberta.
It is anticipated that the project will spur economic growth, create high-quality and sustainable job opportunities within local and Indigenous communities, and further diversify Alberta’s renewable technologies sector, reinforcing its status as a global innovation hub.
Rick Christiaanse, CEO of Invest Alberta, said: “Steeper’s technology represents an innovative way to transform biomass into usable, renewable biocrude, which can then be used as a clean fuel source. The commercialisation of this technology within Alberta could help diversify the province’s energy sector and strengthen our position as an international leader in responsible energy production.”
Bevan May, president of Steeper Energy, added: “Steeper Energy looks forward to working with Invest Alberta, as their support will be important to expedite the pathway to a first commercial project. Alberta is globally an ideal location for a first-of-kind Hydrofaction® commercial project due to the availability of biomass feedstocks, and Alberta’s deep talent pool and pedigree in energy processing technologies and markets. Alberta’s clear desire to be a leader in energy transition combined with federal Clean Fuels Regulations and recent investments all are catalysts to help Steeper achieve our broader goals.”

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