Regina is set to welcome a new flax straw processing facility that looks to be a win-win business model as it allows producers a solution to flax residue and also will create oversea business opportunities in the way of biomass fuels.
Prairie Clean Energy is the company behind the facility and Brita Lind, chief marketing officer, shares more on the opportunities that lie ahead for the plant.
“A lot of producers don’t grow as much flax, or don’t grow it at all, because it’s so hard to till under and it’s just a big problem for producers and this solves that problem,” says Lind. “It also solves a larger problem for greenhouse gas emissions, we are taking flat straw or turning it into pellets and selling it as biomass fuel to customers in Asia and Europe and the UK and around the world, so that they can get off coal.”
The project started from an idea that founder, Trevor Thomas, had approximately five years ago when he was seeing first hand all the agriculture waste and residue within the Prairie Provinces and said to himself something that likely every entrepreneur has said… there must be a better way.
Fast forward half a decade and the new first-ever flax straw pelleting facility will be operational this fall in Regina, which, given the biomass fuels that are not being exported due to the Russia/Ukraine war, Lind says, there is more than enough demand to sustain operations.
“Right now, there’s 6.1 million tons of biomass fuel that is off the market, because Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are no longer producing wood pellets or being able to or because of sanctions,” says Lind.
The Saskatchewan facility is well positioned to enter the biomass fuel market, though at a reduced volume than what the world needs, as the facility is designed to produce roughly 60,000 tons per year.
Regardless, the project is another way that Saskatchewan companies are diversifying the agriculture industry while also providing solutions for Saskatchewan producers.