Nexterra Almost Out of the Woods


A Vancouver energy company is finding itself fortuitously positioned in the green energy market as demand and investment are surging. Nexterra Energy Corp. originally built its biofuel technology to reduce costs for the B.C. forest industry. The technology is based on small, self-contained units that can rely on local biomass for fuel; everything from urban tree trimmings to construction waste is fuel for the system. The key, says CEO Jonathan Rhone, is keeping the units small.

“You need small plants to reduce fuel transportation costs,” Rhone said. “We believe that small-scale, highly efficient, ultra-low-emission biomass systems that are built on a distributed basis are really the way to go. We don’t think large-scale biomass solutions make a lot of sense.”

This small-scaled focus is yielding a huge potential for the company, and has seen them emerge as unlikely players in the grand energy scheme of the future. With interest coming in from giants like GE Energy and Oak Ridge Laboratories — of Manhattan Project fame — It’s ironic that such an exhaustive world energy/pollution crisis is inviting of a solution so localized in its conception.

The original project, undertaken by Nexterra for Tolko Industries, was meant to cut natural gas costs, which it did by $1 million per year. But it also produced renewable energy. Today we have over $180 billion contributed by governments world-wide to clean energy technologies, $70 billion alone coming from the U.S., and suddenly there is a world of opportunity out there for companies like Nexterra who, in the next few decades, may be out of the woods and into our homes and automobiles.

More on this story at The Vancouver Sun.