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Client:

Alberta Pacific Forest Industries (Al-Pac)

 

Opportunity:

Al-Pac’s mill northeast of Athabasca produces fly-ash as a waste product. About 7% of the fly-ash is char. Functioning as a soil amendment substance, char could be used in greenhouse potting mixes or as a growing medium and can potentially have agricultural value. It can also act as a carbon sequestration mechanism.

Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures conducted a precommercial feasibility study to assess the value of the char contained in the fly-ash waste produced at the mill. In addition to the commercial value of the char itself, removing 7% of the total waste lowers costs related to waste management and handling.

 

Status:

Technology Futures and Al-Pac have completed: phase one separation feasibility; phase two, char characterization and germination tests; and phase three, greenhouse evaluations of peat amended with fly-ash char. Al-Pac expects the product to go to market in 2012.

Al Pac's biomass is stored in piles until it is burned in the boiler. The fly-ash is separated in the process. Removing the char is environmentally friendly and reduces total volume and cost of waste management.

 

Fly ash char was shown to be similar to biochar, although it is produced at a different temperature. The material pictured here is agricultural residue, which is carbonized to produce biochar.
 
Soft wood char      Hard wood char    Washed fly-ash char
 
Plants were germinated in different substrates, including (l,r): 100% peat; 79% peat + 21% wheat straw char; and 93% peat + 7% unwashed fly-ash char.
 
Cucumber plants in (l) peat plant growth, and (r) unwashed fly-ash char plant growth.

To see more stories and videos, visit our Success Stories Map.   

 

Put our expertise to work for you

       
For Biochar inquiries:   For Land Reclamation inquiries:
Don Harfield, PEng, PMP   Bonnie Drozdowski
Research Team Leader   Researcher
Bioresource Technologies   Reclamation Team
780-632-8271   780-450-5230
don.harfield@albertainnovates.ca   bonnie.drozdowski@albertainnovates.ca
 

 

   

Related Links

   
Alberta Pacific Forest Industries (Al-Pac)    
More information about Tech Futures' work in land reclamation    

 

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