A paper and power company steeped in renewable traditions is investing in a plastics-to-fuel venture.
Minas Basin Pulp and Power Co. Ltd. of Hantsport, Nova Scotia, is leading a project that aims to turn 8.8 million pounds per year of plastic scrap into more than a million gallons of diesel fuel or fuel oil.
``It's completely complementary to what we do,'' said Minas Basin President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Travers.
Minas Basin owns Scotia Recycling Ltd., a Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based company that collects household recyclables at curbside in Atlantic Canada. Scotia Recycling separates paper for use in Minas Basin's own mill and soon will have a valued-added use for mixed plastics, after PET and high density polyethylene are sorted out.
Minas Basin already has a good environmental track record. It produces renewable hydroelectric power. It makes paperboard from 100 percent recycled material, diverting 105 million pounds per year of waste paper away from Nova Scotia's landfills. As well, it is constructing a tidal power demonstration plant in the Bay of Fundy to explore that potential source of renewable electrical power.
``We hope to have all the agreements in place by the end of the year,'' Travers said in a telephone interview. He is targeting a late-2009 start.
Travers said his firm will use a pyrolysis type rather than one based on catalysts. He declined to say whose technology will be chosen.
Minas Basin will convert a mixture of PVC, low density PE, polypropylene, polystyrene and mixed plastics to fuel.
``It will create significant operational savings and increase the supply of renewable energy for Nova Scotia,'' Travers said.
Minas Basin will contribute C$27 million (US$28.9 million) of its own funds toward the project. Nova Scotia's Department of Economic Development will chip in C$20.7 million (US$22.1 million). Other grants total C$5 million (US$5.4 million), including C$2 million (US$2.1 million) from the federal Ecotrust program for reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.
The province is providing a C$12.5 million (US$13.4 million) loan. Nova Scotia already has paid C$3.2 million (US$3.4 million) for 2,026 acres for the project.
``The company's innovative business model emphasizes recycling, waste elimination and energy reduction,'' Angus MacIsaac, Nova Scotia's minister of economic development, said in a news release.
Minas Basin is a private company founded in 1927. It employs about 180 producing ground wood pulp and paperboard.