Highbury CEO addresses BC – Korea Forum

Delegates hear Thomas Hobby speak on company’s renewable syngas technology and future

How feasible is it to turn waste wood into jet fuel? Very, according to the Chief Executive Officer of a new startup company, Vancouver-based Highbury Energy Inc. (HEI).

Speaking to the British Columbia-Korea Trade and Investment Forum on June 23, Thomas Hobby detailed Highbury’s project with the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) to adapt a syngas conversion process to HEI’s high-value synthesis gas process, with the ultimate aim of creating renewable diesel or jet fuel from biomass.

“KIER and HEI are collaborating on the design of a small demo plant to be constructed in BC to process about 10 tonnes of dry biomass per day into heat, power and liquid transportation fuels,” he said. “Long-term we are targeting a number of sectors as potential customers – in particular the forestry, mining and airline industries. We believe our technology will transform the forest industry and support a third leg of the forest resources economic stool, which includes lumber and value added products, pulp and paper and bioenergy development.”

The forum session focused on research and commercial development between Canada and Korea. The HEI-KEIR project, which is sponsored by the BC Bioenergy Network and Korea Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning, takes advantage of Highbury’s acclaimed breakthroughs in renewable energy technology.

Mr. Hobby has conducted extensive research into renewable energies including torrefaction, pilot-scale pyrolysis, gasification and combustion of biomass, and has been interviewed by national and provincial media on a myriad of forest industry topics including forest fuels management, non-timber resources and bioenergy. The forum was attended by 350 representatives from businesses dealing with agrifoods, technology, forestry and bioenergy as well as by officials of the Korean government, and comes in the wake of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement ratified last January.

South Korea is BC’s fourth-largest goods export destination, and Canada’s third-largest trading partner in Asia.