Expanding on Expander: still some hurdles to get over

The difference- maker is Expander’s ‘secret sauce’

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

There are a lot of moving parts in setting up a bio-diesel production facility. Securing a permit from Alberta Environment and Parks (announced a couple of weeks ago) is only one of them. Another is getting the money.

“We’re hoping we can get a final investment decision in the next couple of months,” says Expander Energy VP Gordon Crawford.

As reported earlier, the forecast is now for construction on the plant to begin late this year. That’s later than predicted when the story first broke last fall. Crawford says one thing slowing down the process was the COVID effect. The world market for diesel tanked, but it has clawed its way back. Adding to the good prospects are new federal guidelines, that call for a greater component of ‘green’ fuel.

“The market is there,” Crawford says.

That must be why lots of other people are talking about making diesel (or the related jet fuel) out of waste products. Asked about that, Crawford says it’s true, “but the crux of the problem with most of those processes is they depend on clean, green hydrogen. The trick is to produce hydrogen efficiently. That’s the secret sauce to what we have come up with.”

If the financing gets wrapped up as Crawford hopes it will, then the summer will see engineering and purchasing of equipment for the Slave Lake plant, with construction starting late in the year.

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