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Allnorth engineering Canada's first $350 million straw pulpmill

Jean Sorensen
Allnorth engineering Canada's first $350 million straw pulpmill
SHUTTERSTOCK

Red Leaf Pulp, which will build Canada’s first straw pulpmill in Regina, is moving forward with the engineering, procurement and construction stages with Allnorth consigned to do the initial engineering.

The proprietary process developed by Red Leaf Pulp will utilize straw derived from Saskatchewan’s agricultural sector and refine the material into household paper products. It will be one of two North American facilities utilizing straw with the first in the U.S. operated by Columbia Pulp. 

Red Leaf Pulp has also a freshly-inked a teaming agreement with international pulpmill equipment supplier Valmet. The agreement combines Valmet’s fibre line and other in-plant equipment used in pulp and paper making with Red Leaf Pulp’s proprietary process to pursue commercial opportunities in the agricultural sector. Straw pulpmills are more commonly found in both India and China but are new to many other countries. 

There has been no general contractor chosen yet, said Lauren Nottebrock, Red Leaf Pulp’s sustainability director for the new facility, which is expected to start construction in the first half of 2022 creating 250 new jobs.

Nottebrock said there is no specific date available on the construction start.

“Right now, we are going through the environmental assessment process,” she said.

Further information regarding construction would be posted on Red Leaf Pulp’s website, she added.

Red Leaf Pulp was established in 2019 by Darby Kreitz, the founder of Allnorth, a 500-person engineering firm with offices across Canada and in Atlanta, GA. Allnorth has designed and commissioned non-wood pulp mills in the United States and Europe and for the past 26 years has been providing engineering services to the conventional wood pulp and paper industry.

Red Leaf Pulp has secured properties on the west side of the city of Regina for the new pulpmill.  

The initial plant will have the capacity to produce approximately 182,000 tonnes of market pulp annually from 290,000 tonnes of waste straw collected and aggregated from local producers. In addition, the facility will produce 95,000 tonnes of lignin per year.

The pulp can be used in paper products such as paper towels, tissue, molded fibre and packaging.

The lignin will be sold for use in biofuels, animal feed and as a soil additive, for dust abatement, and other industrial uses. ​

The new facility is expected to create 110 permanent full-time jobs.

“We hope to be operating by the third quarter of 2023,” said Nottebrock.

“Regina’s proximity to major infrastructure and a significant workforce were key considerations in our choice for the initial plant site,” said Red Leaf Pulp’s CEO Martin Pudlas, P.Eng in a statement.

Red Leaf has also received a $395,000 grant from the Saskatchewan Advantage Innovation Fund.

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