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US$2-billion liquid fuel production facility coming to Lewisporte

Synergy World Power outlines facilities for the first phase of the proposed fuel plant and sorting facility.
Synergy World Power outlines facilities for the first phase of the proposed fuel plant and sorting facility. - Contributed

U.K. company looking to bring 500 jobs, ‘state of the art’ plant to Central Newfoundland

By Patrick Murphy
For SaltWire Network

A "state of the art" plastic to liquid fuel production and biomass storage facility is about to be constructed on the shores of Lewisporte Harbour.

While the construction timeline is certainly not set in stone, or even guaranteed yet, Lewisporte Mayor Betty Clarke is optimistic, and a bit cautious.

"This wasn’t supposed to go public this quickly and I want to make sure I have all the T’s crossed," said Clarke when initially contacted after news leaked via social media.

Clarke confirmed the Town of Lewisporte has been in talks with U.K.-based Synergy World Energy for about 10 months and progression toward making the plant a reality has been moving forward rapidly.

"They're good to go once everything is in place, and they are not looking for any government guarantees or anything," Clarke said.

Information found on the company's website indicates the project will be located on the Road to the Isles (Hwy 340) and states the facility will be constructed in two phases.

Clarke said the town has secured the right to the land required to build the facility.

Phase 1 calls for the construction of an approximately 280-hectare site in close proximity to the Lewisporte ferry dock and main commercial center. Diagrams of the proposed production facility show a new deep-water cargo port with berths capable of handling up to three bulk carrier ships as well as a separate fuel loading dock.

According to information provided on the website, the plant will convert waste plastics to liquid fuel (PTLF) and has a stated production capacity of approximately 800 tonnes per day. Plans for the facility also include a 50-megawatt gasification steam turbine power plant.

The company’s website indicates the electricity produced at the plant would then be made available to the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor to support a potential data centre in the future.

Clarke confirmed there have already been preliminary discussions with the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor. She says both towns are in the process of establishing a working group with other municipalities in the area in order to make the most of the opportunity.

"It's certainly an economic boost to Central Newfoundland, and what government wouldn't promote it?" Clarke said. "These are people coming in, they don't want any money from government and they are going to create over 500 jobs."

The sprawling facility also has plans for a water storage and treatment complex, an administration building, a visitors center, a warehouse and maintenance shop, an electrical substation, bulk fuel storage tanks, and a fire station.

The plans also state their site will include a "well-controlled repository for solid residue from the plant that cannot be used for construction or road de-icing" to round out the first phase of the new facility.

A sorting facility will be used for the separation of solid recovered fuel biomass (SRF). Solid recovered fuel is considered a high-quality alternative to fossil fuel and is produced from mainly commercial waste products, including paper, card, wood, textiles, and plastics.

The cost of the facility is claimed to be in excess of $2 billion USD, with total power output planned at more than 235 megawatts by the end of the second phase, according to information found on the company website.

The company claims the project will eventually create more than 500 competitively compensated positions including; unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and managerial positions.

A request for information regarding the project has been sent to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s municipal affairs and environment department; however, at the time of publication, no response has been received. A request for an interview with the president of Synergy World Energy has also been made.

More to come.

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