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An innovative partnership between Aurora College and a Gwich’in-owned company has received $95,000 to support studying the potential to convert waste cardboard into heating pellets for homes and businesses in Inuvik and the Beaufort Delta.
Aurora Research Institute, Aurora College’s research division, and Delta Enterprises were awarded the Northern REACHE (Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Health and Electricity) grant through Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC).
Potential benefits from the biomass pellet project are reduced waste, the option of a clean, alternative fuel option for the Inuvik area, and economic development and the creation of new jobs. Partnerships such as this will continue to increase as Aurora College transforms into a polytechnic university, contributing to the economic diversity of the Northwest Territories and strengthening the knowledge economy.
An existing building has been retrofitted to house the new Inuvik Pellet Mill, which became operational in late 2019. Earlier feasibility studies, funded and supported by the GNWT Energy Division and the Environmental Career Organization Canada’s internship program, determined that up to 60 tonnes per year of Inuvik’s cardboard waste could be diverted from the landfill and converted into fuel pellets.
On Feb. 9, 2021, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Western Arctic, virtually toured the Inuvik Pellet Mill, and spoke with representatives from Aurora College/Aurora Research Institute and Delta Enterprises about the project and its future. Plans include developing local recycling infrastructure that may lead to other types of recycling and waste to heat programs, continuing testing more and different types of biomass fuel mixtures, utilizing waste cardboard from other Beaufort Delta communities, and expanding employment opportunities related to the pellet mill.
Joel McAlister, vice president of fesearch, Aurora College, explains, “The establishment of the Inuvik Pellet Mill will provide a platform of research, development and innovation addressing energy issues in the North. Micro-energy production alternatives show promise in reducing grid energy demands, while providing novel economic energy production opportunities for small northern communities such as Inuvik and the surrounding Beaufort Delta region. We hope to continue development of the Inuvik Pellet Mill, expanding analyses to other waste stream opportunities for energy production and landfill reduction.”
For more information about the Heat from Waste: Biomass Pellets from Landfill-destined Cardboard project, click HERE