PORT ALICE, B.C. – The Neucel Specialty Cellulose mill in Port Alice could be the future home of a wood pellet processing plant.

According to a report from the North Island Eagle newspaper, Arterran Renewables is looking at the feasibility of opening a production plant at the mill.

Arterran’s director of business development David Tiessen told the Eagle that Japan is studying the potential for a massive increase in wood pellet production, especially in B.C.

Tiessen also told the Eagle that the demand for more production would present a massive opportunity for B.C. and Canada.

Port Alice Mayor Kevin Cameron is excited about the prospect of the plant coming to the village.

“It would just be such a big boost to the economy of Port Alice if this process did take place,” Cameron said.

“What’s really interesting is it’s a totally green process with no pollutants at all. And there is a real need for this in this part of the country with all of the fibre, the residue that flows through here and the stuff that’s left out in the bush that they’re cleaning up now. It would just be a really good fit for Port Alice.”

In late February, Cameron stated that all the employees at the Neucel mill received lay-off notices, and it was “unknown” if the facility would have any staff maintained.

The mill made up 70 per cent of the community’s property tax revenues, and didn’t pay their roughly $1 million bill.

Arterran’s technology

According to the company’s website, Arterran’s Advanced Fuel (AAF) is made from biomass, the world’s only renewable carbon.

“Unlike conventional wood pellets or natural gas, as a drop-in replacement for thermal coal, Arterran Advanced Fuel (AAF) requires no modification to existing coal fired infrastructure prior to use. This allows for the world’s generators to simply phase out coal, from 1-100 per cent, without added conversion cost, and expedite coal’s displacement, not the facility,” the company said on its website.