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Hinton relies on geothermal energy for food security

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Some 200 jobs during the construction phase, and 120 full-time positions during the operating phase, these are the promises of Latitude 53, a geothermal energy production project coupled with that of a vertical farm.

The project is carried by Novus Earthwhich is a Calgary-based company, and Mitacs National Research Organization. He just got a $5 million grant from Natural Resources Canada for a Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study.

The project has mobilized a total investment of $6.6 million to date, Natural Resources Canada said in a statement.

An energy of the future

It’s a new technology. It’s the futureenthuses Marcel Michaels, the mayor of Hinton.

Located 290 kilometers west of Edmonton, Hinton is a town of 10,000 inhabitants known in particular for having an economy closely linked to the extraction of mining resources and forestry.

Jeff Messner, President of Novus Earthexplains that it was chosen because the underground temperature there increases by 36 degrees Celsius every 1000 meters.

Geothermal technology involves running water in a closed loop through pipes deep underground where it is warmed by natural heat to around 130°C. The heated water is then routed to another closed circuit called a heat exchanger. This increases the pressure of the fluid and the latter drives the turbine to generate electricity.

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In order to be able to heat the company’s facilities, the water is then cooled to approximately 70°C. The same chilled water can even be used for local district heating in Hinton.

At the service of food autonomy

The project of a vertical farm consists for its part in constructing a building inside which the initiators plan to carry out several types of crops, and this, thanks to the energy produced by the future power station.

For this purpose, Novus Earth says he is always exploring different cultural possibilities. These would include tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and even Pacific white shrimp.

In three years, we should be operational and harvesting lots of vegetables and shrimp. »

A quote from Jeff Messner, President, Novus Earth

The project is all the more important for Hinton because the city is described by the president of Novus Earth like a food desert. Jeff Messner explains in this regard that the objective of the project is also to contribute to improving food security in the city of Hinton, and even beyond.

Mayor Marcel Michaels testifies that the inhabitants of his city sometimes struggle to find quality foodmainly because of the distance.

Curtis Anderson, President of the Hinton Chamber of Commerce, is also pleased with the implementation of the project and the willingness of its promoters to work with local businesses. These, he says, have high hopes for the training and skills development opportunities that the project can bring them.

Curtis Anderson also hopes the project will make Hinton a geothermal pioneer, a clean energy and it would make us more visible on the world map.

With information from Dennis Kovtun

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