Parker: Calgary firm begins construction on facility to repurpose asphalt shingles

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Northstar Clean Technologies, a Calgary-based company focused on the sustainable recovery and reprocessing of asphalt shingles, has broken ground on its first commercial processing facility, the first of its kind in North America.

The Empower Calgary Facility is on four acres of land on Wagon Wheel Way in Rocky View County, owned by the Mook Group of Companies. Jon Mook brokered the land, leased it on a 15-year term to Northstar, and is quarterbacking the design and development of the facility, engaging Engelhart Reed as the general contractor.

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Northstar has developed a proprietary design process referred to as bitumen extraction and separation technology, taking discarded asphalt shingles that would otherwise be destined for overcrowded landfills.

“When operating at full capacity it is expected to divert approximately 40,000 tonnes of asphalt shingles per year from Calgary area landfills, which equates to approximately 60,000 barrels of oil,” says Aidan Mills, president and CEO.

The Calgary plant will reprocess shingles into their three basic components of liquid asphalt, aggregate and fibre, which can then be sold back into the paving, shingle and flat roofing industries. The facility will also have a carbon footprint 60 per cent lower than the base case of landfill replacement with virgin production.

A small pilot plant has been successfully running in Delta, B.C. The Calgary plant will be substantially improved from its original concept through extensive research and testing.

Mills joined Northstar in 2021 after a number of years in executive positions in the energy industry. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he earned his electrical and electronics and engineering degree at the University of Edinburgh, followed by his MBA from the Edinburgh Business School.

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In his more than 30 years of global experience, he spent 19 years with British Petroleum, which included roles from his start as a graduate control engineer to a senior vice-president in Calgary with accountability for trading, asset and customer development and management. Mills then spent five years as vice-president of commodity marketing and supply at Husky Energy, and two years as managing director with Goldman Sachs, followed by vice-president of downstream with MEG. Most recently, Mills was chief commercial officer at Friesen Group of Companies.

On being appointed to president and CEO at Northstar, he said, “I am extremely excited about this opportunity to join a new emerging cleantech company in Canada. I want to be part of the solutions that are emerging in hydrocarbon management and waste reduction.”

He says the low capital cost of the full-scale shingle reprocessing facility, in addition to the 12-month period of construction and commissioning, allows Northstar to built at least three new operating facilities per year.

The need is great. Last year, 16.5 million tonnes of shingles were deposited into landfills across North America.

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The asphalt shingle manufacturing industry has a goal to divert up to 100 per cent of its waste from landfills by 2050 — based on production estimates, that would require more than 400 Northstar facilities across North America. It has plans for a second plant in Toronto and its first U.S. plant, both in 2024.

Financing for the Calgary plant was completed by a $7.71-million grant from Emissions Reduction Alberta, an $8.75-million loan from BDC, and a major strategic equity investment by TAMKO Building Products, one of the largest shingle manufacturers in the United States.

Notes:

Tasneem Rahim, who has been interim vice-president, external, at Bow Valley College since April, has been appointed to fill the permanent role in which she will be responsible for leading the college’s fund development, alumni engagement and government relations portfolios. “We are thrilled to have Rahim continue as a senior member of our leadership team,” says college president Misheck Mwaba. “Engaged in the community, she has built tremendous relationships with government partners, the business community, donors, volunteers and other stakeholders.” Rahim served as regional and national manager of the corporate and outreach program for the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, and currently is a board member of the Canadian Council for Advancement Education.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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