DEW's latest technology converting into jobs
Telegraph Journal- Published Thursday October 15th, 2009
OTTAWA - New Brunswick is in a competition to land 200 manufacturing jobs as DEW Engineering and Development, which makes armoured cars for the military in Miramichi, branches out into patented leading-edge environmental technology.
Doug Coors, CEO of Ceramatec, and Craig Campbell, vice-president of business development for DEW Engineering, handed over the world's first prototype of a biodiesel catalyst system to their first customer, the agrifood giant Archer Daniels Midland, at an event Wednesday in Ottawa at DEW’s headquarters. The companies forecast 200 jobs will be created at a location yet to be determined when the technology is ready to go into production.
Biodiesel plants - and there will be 2,000 worldwide by 2016 - produce massive amounts of impure, toxic and volatile glycerine as a byproduct.
Now a sister company, Ceramatec Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah, has developed an electrochemical and ceramic membrane technology that can bolt right on to a biodiesel plant and reprocess that glycerine into useable substances.
The prototype biodiesel catalyst system was built by DEW and handed over to a representative of the global agrifood giant Archer Daniels Midland at an event Wednesday at DEW's Ottawa headquarters.
The unit and two more to follow will be installed at an ADM plant in Missouri.
ADM director of research Jim Foster said the Ceramatec technology will reduce the company's need to store glycerine and improve plant safety and its environmental impact.
In a large biodiesel plant, the technology would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 57 per cent.
After ADM's early adoption of the technology, the relative handful of sizeable biodiesel refiners in the world will "come knocking on our door," said DEW president Tim Dear. "What this is all about is converting technology into jobs."
Doug Coors, CEO of Ceramatec, said "the opportunities abound for all kinds of growth throughout many countries."
"It's a big deal for DEW," said Craig Campbell, DEW's vice-president of business development. "It's a new direction for us and we wouldn't have had this opportunity if the Coors family hadn't purchased us."
CoorsTek, headquartered in Golden, Colo., and owned by the brewing family, bought DEW in June 2008.
It also recently acquired Ceramatec, whose research scientists developed the biodiesel catalyst technology. Ceramatec holds more than 60 patents for its breakthroughs, many of them involving ceramic membranes.
DEW and CoorsTek expect it could be 18 months before a new plant is opened to support Ceramatec's product line.
But a decision about which province will land it could come in six to eight months.
Campbell said DEW has committed to producing a business plan for CoorsTek once they have determined what federal support may apply - be it job-creation funding, regulatory certainty or tax measures.
Then they'll look at provinces and "open up the bidding."
"We can't say it's going to be in Atlantic Canada but we can't say it won't be," said Campbell. "We are most comfortable with Atlantic Canada because that's what we know."
DEW has made the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland governments aware of the company's plans, said Dear. Nova Scotia had representatives at the Ottawa event talking up the province's interest in landing the jobs.
Campbell says Miramichi, home to DEW's main manufacturing plant, has proven itself a capable workforce.
It's also a plus that the company is familiar with Atlantic Canada, he said, but no jurisdiction has the inside track on landing the jobs at this stage.
"Miramichi is a very impressive manufacturing operation," said Campbell. "We would like to go to the general manager and engineering staff at Miramichi and ask, 'Can you do this?' and I think the answer is likely to be 'Yes we can and here's how.'
"Politics and regulatory issues may mean it needs to be somewhere else - but I know these can be built in a mass quantity in Miramichi."
DEW has operated in Miramichi since 1994, focusing on lightweight armour plating and restoration of armoured military vehicles.
In August the firm landed a $130-million contract to supply the Canadian Forces with hundreds of mobile shelters.
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