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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Canary Biofuels receives funding from Alberta govt. for Lethbridge biodiesel project

Canary Biofuels, biodiesel, methyl ester, Canadian biodiesel
Various government officials and dignitaries joined Canary Biofuels CEO George Wadsworth, second from left, at the biodiesel plant site in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. (Photo: The Government of Alberta)

The provincial government of Alberta, Canada, is using CAN$4.7 million (USD$3.7 million) from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction fund through Emissions Reduction Alberta to support a CAN$28.6 million (USD$22.8 million) biorefinery in Lethbridge County, Canary Biofuels, which will be capable of producing more than 18 million gallons of biodiesel per year. The TIER system is funded by large industry that pay into the fund when they do not meet emissions targets.

In March, Biobased Diesel Daily announced that Canary Biofuels had acquired Invigor Bioenergy Corp. and its biodiesel manufacturing asset in Lethbridge. George Wadsworth, president and CEO of Canary Biofuels, told Biobased Diesel Daily that the facility plans to add an acid esterification line as well as a distillation unit to be capable of producing high-quality fuel through the processing of a variety of lower-quality feedstock such as waste vegetable oils and greases, distillers corn oil, animal fats, and canola and soy oils.

“Canadian canola is used in biofuel production around the world because it’s a low-carbon, sustainable and renewable resource,” said Brad Orr, director of the Canola Council of Canada. “We are excited to see more investment in Lethbridge that will directly benefit canola farmers and Alberta’s agriculture value chain.”

According to the Alberta government, Canary Biofuels will buy more than CAN$375 million (USD$298.4 million) of local feedstock from farmers over the next five years, generating about CAN$500 million (USD$397.8 million) in revenue, supporting up to 130 local jobs, and cutting 224,000 metric tons of emissions each year, equivalent to reducing emissions from the electricity used by 41,000 homes.

The biodiesel to be produced by Canary Biofuels has also been presold to a Canadian supplier whose customers include fuel retailers, wholesalers, distributors and fleet managers across Canada and the U.S.

“Canary’s project will create new revenues for western Canadian agricultural producers and help meet the growing North American demand for biodiesel,” said Steve MacDonald, CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta. “This project is another example of what can happen when government, industry and entrepreneurs come together to deliver better economic and environmental outcomes.”

Wadsworth added that Canary Biofuels will be Alberta’s first second-generation biodiesel producer with its flagship facility in Lethbridge. “Canary is excited to lead the path in Alberta in abating emissions through sustainable waste-based biodiesel production that supports the energy and agriculture industries in Alberta and the Prairies,” he said. “Canary would like to thank all its investors and partners, including the government of Alberta, for their tremendous support. Canary is proud to support Alberta in creating new jobs and helping Alberta industry on its journey to net zero.”

Lorne Petersen, vice president of business development for Canary Biofuels, was one of the founding shareholders of Invigor Bioenergy. “We were pleased to meet George last year,” Petersen said. “He has assembled a world-class board of directors and management team and was able to raise the capital we needed via an oversubscribed private placement.”

Canary Biofuels is expected to be operational this fall. Commissioning was originally anticipated for September, but Petersen said this has now been pushed back to October.

“Construction began in April and is well underway, with the long lead-time items ordered and being manufactured,” he told Biobased Diesel Daily. “One piece of equipment is slightly delayed due to current global supply-chain issues, and commissioning will now be mid-October—with no further delays anticipated.”


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