Highmark Renewables was set up by Vegrevilles Kotelko family to
develop a process to recover usable bio gas from the mountains of manure
produced by livestock feedlots.
The company is a natural extension of the family business; the Kotelko
family has farmed in the area since the 1940s, and operated Highland
Feeders, a large cattle feedlot operation, since 1976.
Highmark Renewables has plenty of source material for the manure
conversion project; Highland Feeders is one of the largest feedlot
operators in Alberta, with a static capacity of 36,000 cattle.
Mike Kotelko, one of the owners of the feedlot operation, is also the
project manager of Highmark Renewables. Kotelko told an agriculture
industry magazine that converting the manure from feedlot operations
into energy, fertilizer and other products had a lot of potential as an
extra income source for farmers. Kotelko also noted that as energy costs
rise, the economic opportunities for renewable energy improved.
The project has attracted interest from a wide range of government
and industry agencies; Highmarks partners include Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Sustainable
Development Technology Canada, the Government of Alberta, the University
of Alberta, CETAC-West, the Alberta Research Council, Flint Energy
Services, and cattle producers Nolan Cattle Ltd., Rick Paskal Farm,
Thompson Livestock Co. Inc., and Cor Van Ray Farms Ltd.
The Alberta Research Council (ARC) has provided much of the research
expertise behind Highmarks project, Xiaomei Li, a senior research
scientist with the ARCs
Environmental Technologies Business Unit, developed the manure
utilization system in use at Highmarks pilot plant.
Highmark Renewables received a 2005 Emerald Award, a prestigious
environmental citation, in the small business category.
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