renewable-solutions, sustainability · 11/30/2020

The Government of Quebec announces its support for an advanced biofuel project carried out jointly by BioÉnergie La Tuque, Neste, and the Council of the Atikamekw Nation

Neste Corporation, Press Release, 30 November, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. (EET)

An investment of CAD 5.9 million as part of Transition Énergétique Québec 

The Quebec Government has today announced it awards funding totaling CAD 5.943 million (approx. EUR 3.85 million, USD 4.55 million) to a non-profit organization Bioénergie La Tuque (BELT) under a program called Technoclimat from Transition Énergétique Québec (TEQ) for a project to develop and demonstrate the potential of producing advanced biofuels from locally-sourced forestry waste in La Tuque, Quebec, Canada. The funding will be used to continue project development and plant design, which are key enablers for making further decisions regarding the potential of building a renewable fuels plant in the area. 

BELT, the Council of the Atikamekw Nation (CNA), and Neste, the world’s leading renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel provider, have been collaborating on the project since 2017. The partners have been jointly assessing the feasibility of utilizing sustainably-sourced forest-based biomass, particularly harvesting residues – such as branches and tops that are not suitable for sale – in the production of advanced sustainable biofuels. Once in place, this biorefinery could produce advanced renewable biofuels based on forest logging residues from Haute-Mauricie region in Quebec.

This biorefinery project is perfectly in line with the goals of the Government of Quebec towards a greener economy. The advanced biofuel will be fully compatible with existing infrastructure and therefore an excellent candidate for supporting the energy transition into the next decade. Thus the project has the potential to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from Quebec’s transportation sector, allowing the province to reach significantly larger emission reductions than what is currently projected.

The project supports the development of Quebec's bioenergy sector and has the potential to have a positive impact on the local economy. This project can be seen as an important step forward in establishing the Province’s capabilities to produce sustainable biofuels. The demand for such fuels is likely to increase locally and across Canada as both the Quebec provincial government and the federal government continue in their initiative to implement a low-carbon fuel standard. Demand for low-carbon, renewable fuels is also growing globally as businesses and cities around the world look for ways to meet their climate goals.  

Importantly, Quebec's established forest product industry and commitment to sustainable forestry management means that the Province of Quebec is well-positioned for biofuels production that converts forestry residues into renewable products. Leaving harvesting residues unutilized in the forests hinders forest regeneration process and thus slows down carbon sequestration. Removing part of it, while maintaining regeneration capacity of forest soils, supports Quebec sustainable management of forests and maintains biodiversity.

“The region developed around logging, yet at the moment residues from this industry are rotting in the woods. In a coherent energy transition towards a greener economy, projects that make it possible to recover what is currently considered to be waste is aligned with Atikamekw's values of improving the use of the territory’s resources. These are not perfect industries, but by acting wisely, we can combine economic, social and environmental development, “said Constant Awashish, Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation.

“Our biorefinery project is a great example of regional and international collaboration, with several local players including the Council of the Atikamekw Nation, the Coopérative Forestière du Haut-St. Maurice, the Forest School of La Tuque, FPInnovations and UQTR, and our partner Neste, the world's leading producer of renewable fuels and the third most sustainable company in the world. The project will significantly contribute to the economic development of our local communities and to the reduction of GHGs for Quebec’s transportation sector. We would like to warmly thank the Government of Quebec which, through this significant financial participation in the pre-commercial phase of the project, shows its support and trust in our vision”, declared Patrice Bergeron president of BELT.

“Neste is very grateful for the funding provided by the Quebec Government, demonstrating the government’s strong support for our aim of bringing new volumes of sustainable lower-emission fuels from locally-sourced raw materials to the market. Additional biofuel volumes are crucial for replacing fossil fuel use, making a positive impact towards reaching local and global emission reduction targets,” says Lars Peter Lindfors, Senior Vice President, Innovation at Neste. “Our long-term collaboration with BELT is a great example of the many initiatives Neste is engaging in to further increase the company’s positive impact on fighting climate change on a global level.”

“The La Tuque Bioenergy project has the immense potential to pave the way for the establishment of the first biorefinery to produce renewable fuels from residual forest biomass. This technological demonstration is in line with the planned energy transition for Quebec and is part of our vision of a lower-carbon economy. Together, we can join forces for a sustainable energy future,” said Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord region.

“We have to be ambitious and smart to achieve social, economic and environmental success. Through the development of projects like this the transition to a better future can be made,” concluded Mr. Awashish.
Neste Corporation
Susanna Sieppi
Vice President, Communications

For further information: 

Please contact Neste’s media service, tel. +358 50 458 5076 / (weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EET)).

Patrice Mangin, CEO of Bioenergy La Tuque, tel. +1 819 386 1556,

Réjean Néquado, mobile: +1 819 676 7139,

Neste in brief

Neste (NESTE, Nasdaq Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. We refine waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. We are the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. We aim at helping customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable and circular solutions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2030. As a technologically advanced refiner of high-quality oil products with a commitment to reach carbon-neutral production by 2035, we are also introducing renewable and recycled raw materials such as waste plastic as refinery raw materials. We have consistently been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies. In 2019, Neste's revenue stood at EUR 15.8 billion, with 82% of the company’s comparable operating profit coming from renewable products. Read more:

BELT in brief

Bioenergy La Tuque (B.E.L.T.) is a non-profit organization founded in 2015 with the objective of implementing all the conditions conducive to the realization of the first biorefinery based on forest residues for the manufacture of renewable fuels in La Tuque. BELT headquarters are in Wemotaci, Quebec, and its business place at CNA headquarters in La Tuque, Quebec. 

Atikamekw Nation Council in brief

As a tribal council, the Council of the Atikamekw Nation (CNA) provides various services to the communities. The CNA also assumes a role of political representation for the Atikamekw Nation through the office of the President/Grand Chief elected by universal suffrage by all the members of the Atikamekw Nation, collectively holder of ancestral rights and title.