The Aurora Research Institute and Delta Enterprises have received a $95,000 grant to extend a study on the potential of converting cardboard waste into heating pellets in the Beaufort Delta.
The partnership between Aurora College’s research division and the Gwich’in-owned company builds on earlier feasibility studies that found 60 tonnes of Inuvik’s cardboard waste could be diverted from the landfill and turned into pellets.
“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,” said Aurora College in a news release.
The research is aided by the Inuvik Pellet Mill, which began operating from a retrofitted building in late 2019.
Joel McAlister, vice president of research at the college, was quoted as saying: “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.
“We hope to continue development of the Inuvik Pellet Mill, expanding analyses to other waste stream opportunities for energy production and landfill reduction.”
Future plans for the pellet mill – which the grant money will allow researchers to study – include developing local recycling infrastructure that could lead to other kinds of recycling and waste-to-heat programs, testing other biomass fuel mixtures, and using cardboard waste from other communities in the region to make pellets.
The $95,000 comes from the Northern Reache (Responsible Energy Approach for Community Health and Electricity) grant, offered by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.