Efforts to re-use products in the north got a cash injection Feb. 9 after Aurora Research Institute announced it, alongside business partner Delta Reach Enterprises, has been awarded a $95,000 grant from the federal government to continue its studies into the feasibility of using cardboard pellets as an alternate source of heat and explore other potential opportunities for recycling in the Beaufort Delta region
In the works since 2017, the project involved retrofitting an old building into the new Inuvik Pellet Mill, which began operation in fall of 2019. Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal and N.W.T. MP Michel McLeod got a virtual tour of the facility the same day of the announcement.
“The establishment of the Inuvik Pellet Mill will provide a platform of research, development and innovation addressing energy issues in the North," said Aurora College vice president of research Joel McAlister. "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.”
Future plans for the facility, the announcement reads, include expanding recycling infrastructure and examining other potential areas for recycling and waste-to-heat programs, as well as establishing supply chains to bring cardboard waste from other communities in the Beaufort Delta.
Initially began through the ARI by researchers Matthew Dares and Patrick Gall, the project made use of a pellet machine first acquired in 2018 to create use-able pellets from cardboard waste.
It began creating pellets in May of 2018 and data on the effectiveness was gathered until March of 2019. Those feasibility studies concluded the project could keep up to sixty tonnes of cardboard out of the landfill each year.