The province of B.C. says construction has been completed on a stand-alone renewable diesel refinery in British Columbia, the first of its kind in Canada.
Officials, including Premier David Eby, were in Prince George to celebrate the milestone for the $380-million facility run by Tidewater Renewables.
Renewable diesel is the term given to a biomass-based fuel that is chemically equivalent to petroleum diesel. This means it can be transported directly in petroleum pipelines or sold at retail stations without any infrastructure modifications or fuel blending.
Renewable diesel can be made from vegetable oil, animal fats, used cooking oil or even algae.
A government statement says the process in Prince George involves blending feedstocks, such as canola and tallow, with transportation fuels to lower their carbon intensity.
Tidewater CEO Rob Colcleugh says the facility will produce renewable diesel, which offers an 80 to 90 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared with fossil fuel diesel.
Prince George to be renewable energy hub: province
Eby says more than 40 per cent of the project’s cost came from the province’s low-carbon fuel credits, given to companies that use more fuels like hydrogen, electricity, renewable gas and diesel.
Officials say the facility will be fully operational “in the near future” and is expected to produce more than 3,000 barrels of low-carbon fuel a day along with renewable hydrogen.
The opening is one of a number of initiatives underway aimed at transforming Prince George into a renewable energy hub.
Earlier this year, the city of Prince George entered into an agreement with the province to develop a “regional hydrogen hub” for central B.C.
The city was chosen based on its location connecting two major highways, and the CN Rail line connecting to both the ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver and an international airport.
A hydrogen production facility near the airport has been approved by city council and in September 2022, ground was broken on a project led by Hydra Energy to create a hydrogen refuelling station for heavy-duty trucks, serving companies in both B.C. and Alberta.
Under the agreement the province, through the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, will partner with the city on finding investment opportunities, conducting case studies and publicizing work on renewables being done in Prince George.