Ontario and Canada Investing in Clean Energy Production Using Forest Biomass

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THOROLD – The governments of Ontario and Canada are investing more than $11.3 million to expand CHAR Technologies’ facility in Thorold to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) and biocarbon – creating the largest facility of its kind in Canada, and the only RNG facility in the country to exclusively use woody biomass. Expanding CHAR’s Thorold facility will create close to 40 new direct and indirect jobs, as well as 20 construction jobs.

“This new facility will produce clean alternative fuels and increase sustainability in the forest sector through new and emerging uses of renewable forest biomass,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Our investment in CHAR Technologies is an investment in Ontario, which will boost productivity, create jobs and support a thriving forest economy that communities throughout the province depend on.”

Joint funding is being made available through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, as well as Ontario’s own Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program.

“Congratulations to CHAR Technologies on the development of a novel facility that will help to reduce emissions while creating jobs for Canadians,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “This facility will help displace fossil fuel combustion while diverting wood waste from being burned or landfilled. This will reduce carbon and methane emissions while contributing to Canada’s ambitious climate goals. The Government of Canada is pleased to support this important work.”

CHAR Technologies has developed new technology to produce clean energy from woody biomass, including unused tree parts and mill by-products like bark, shavings and sawdust. Each year, the new facility will produce 10,000 tonnes of biocarbon as a coal fuel alternative for Ontario’s heavy industries, and enough renewable natural gas to heat over 5,500 homes.

“Thanks to the confidence and support from the governments of Canada and Ontario, CHAR is proud to demonstrate what can be accomplished when industry and governments work together towards a green energy transition,” said Andrew White, CEO of CHAR Technologies. “Today represents climate change action in action and is a major win for Canada’s growing bioeconomy as we move towards a Net Zero future in collaboration with Ontario’s resilient forestry sector.”

By providing alternative fuels, the project will directly reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30,000 tonnes each year. Diverting mill by-products from landfill will further avoid and reduce indirect emissions by as much as 30,000 tonnes annually, with a combined effect equivalent to taking 18,000 cars off the road.


Quick Facts

  • The Government of Ontario is providing $6.4 million for the project through the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program, a business support program designed to improve productivity and innovation, enhance competitiveness, support new market access and strengthen regional economies.
  • Natural Resources Canada is providing $4.9 million for the project through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program.
  • The Forest Biomass Action Plan is a five-year plan that encourages the use of forest biomass resources to secure jobs, support economic development and encourage sustainability in Ontario’s forest sector. Forest biomass has many current and emerging uses, including as a source of low-carbon consumer products and renewable energy.
  • Industrial clean gas manufacturing is set to grow by 4 per cent between 2021 and 2026 with a specific focus on reducing environment impact.
  • The forest sector generated $18 billion in revenue from the sale of manufactured goods and services in 2020 and supported more than 148,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2021.
  • Wood produced from Ontario’s Crown forests is sustainably sourced and renewable. Wood is a renewable resource, a clean energy source, and a sustainable – and biodegradable – alternative to single-use plastics.