Lab Canada

Research centre to test new clean energy technology

St-Romuald, QC – Manufacturer Vaperma has opened a new 22,000 sq-ft research and technology centre for the development and pilot testing of clean energy gas separation membranes. The company’s hollow fibre membrane is a made-in-Canada technology that represents a new dewatering process for the production of fuel ethanol. The technology also has strong potential for the dehydration of natural gas.

It is expected that Vaperma’s membrane technology will assist in meeting the growing demand for bioethanol as a gasoline additive. In addition, testing of the membrane technology for the dehydration of natural gas will begin in October 2007. Dehydration of natural gas is required to purify this clean-burning petroleum fuel.

Vaperma’s pre-commercial membrane spinning facility is scheduled to go online during August 2007. The pilot line will spin enough fibres to enable testing at large demonstration scale.

Over the past 18 months, Vaperma has built the company and its assets, which have taken its membrane technology from the lab into the demonstration phase, by partnering with potential customers such as Greenfield Ethanol and EnCana.

“Vaperma was successful in the initial ethanol dehydration field trial of the first membrane system that took place at GreenField’s Tiverton, Ontario plant. Today, we look forward to the results of the next demonstration phase to validate the commercial viability and performance of this new dewatering system prior to its commercialization in 2008,” says Robert Gallant, president and CEO of GreenField Ethanol.

“The pilot dewatering membrane process is scheduled to go into production in the fall of 2007 with a production capacity of 20 m3 per day or the equivalent of about six per cent of our Chatham fuel ethanol plant production. We are very confident that Vaperma’s membrane system will help us cut our energy requirements and reduce our costs, he adds.