A “renewable diesel” refinery proposed for Dunmore could more than double in size, the company and group of local investors announced Thursday.
Renewable U Medicine Hat and Cielo Waste Systems say the expansion plan comes after positive results at a prototype refinery in Aldersyde, Alta.
As well, say officials, they have heard strong interest from both potential suppliers of organic waste, hard-to-recycle plastic and ag byproduct that would be refined and sold as fuel.
“We are extremely confident our process is able to be replicated and scaled up,” Cielo president Don Allan said in a release. “Our Dunmore facility will be built as a world-class, first-of-its-kind facility.”
The two-year-old proposal to build a local refinery, akin to a tank farm from a distance, has been stalled as the company tested equipment at its facility near High River. There, wood mass is chemically treated and heated, with the goal of hitting a continuous flow rate of 4,000 litres per hour.
According to Thursday’s release, a local investors group that makes up Renewable U Medicine Hat would cover costs of the upscaling and is confident supply and sales contracts will be available.
“We are very excited for this announcement to increase the size of our Dunmore Facility and begin the engineering work,” said Ryan Jackson, the chief operations officer of Renewable U Medicine Hat.
“The support we have received locally and from outside the region is more than encouraging.”
A formal design meeting will be held Nov. 17 for the plant, site, spur rail line, and fabrication, according to Cielo.
Construction of the facility is estimated to create 300 positions for the duration then 35 to 40 full-time operations positions.
In March the enterprise announced that they had a conditional deal to purchase 80-acre site east of Dunmore, near the Trans-Canada weigh-scales, to locate the refinery with access to Highway 41 and near the rail line.
The firm also have a contract with Canadian Pacific Railway to dispose of railways ties, though other supply contracts have not been announced.
The facility near Medicine Hat would now be designed to process 163,000 tonnes of material each year, producing 83 million litres of fuel.
That translates to a 2.5-times increase over originally stated production levels.