THUNDER BAY — Plans are set to be announced for a new mill in the Nipigon or Greenstone area to convert underutilized wood fibre to renewable natural gas. Details are expected to be revealed Tuesday at at news conference at Fort William Historical Park.
Lake Nipigon Forest Management Inc. (LNFMI) and British Columbia-based REN Energy International Corp. will sign a letter of intent to move forward with the planning and design of the mill.
LNFMI is a wholly-owned Indigenous company that manages the Lake Nipigon Forest under a sustainable forest licence issued by the Ontario government.
If the project goes ahead, the plant will be the second of its kind constructed by REN, and the first in Canada outside B.C.
The facility would initially use up to 500,000 cubic metres of unmarketable hardwood, slash and debris annually, with potential to double that in future. It's expected that several hundred new jobs would be created in operating the plant, biomass harvesting and related activities.
REN Energy describes renewable natural gas as "a clean, affordable, and reliable waste-derived carbon neutral fuel that can be used to power homes, businesses, and vehicles."
According to the United States Department of Energy, renewable natural gas is a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas.
RNG, it says, is essentially biogas (the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter) that has been processed to purity standards. It can be used either as a transportation fuel in the form of compressed natural gas or as liquefied natural gas.