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Vaperma Opens Centre to Test New Clean Energy Technology

Today, Vaperma Inc officially opened its new 22,000 square-foot research and technology centre for the development and pilot testing of clean energy gas separation membranes. Vaperma's innovative hollow fiber membrane is a proprietary, made-in-Canada technology that represents a new "dewatering" process for the production of fuel ethanol. The technology also has strong potential for the dehydration of natural gas.

It is expected that Vaperma's membrane technology will be an attractive solution to large ethanol refining plants in both North America and Brazil to meet the growing demand for bioethanol as a gasoline additive. In addition, testing of Vaperma's membrane technology for the dehydration of natural gas will begin in October 2007. Dehydration of natural gas is required to purify this clean-burning petroleum fuel.

Vaperma's pre-commercial membrane spinning facility is scheduled to go online during August 2007. The pilot line will spin enough fibers to enable testing at large demonstration scale.

Over the past 18 months, Vaperma has successfully built the company and its assets, which have taken Siftek membrane technology from the lab into the demonstration phase, by partnering with potential customers such as GreenField Ethanol and EnCana Corporation.

"Vaperma is positioning itself to become a leading Canadian supplier of advanced membrane systems for the production of fuel-grade ethanol and for natural gas treatment. Funding support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, EnCana's Environmental Innovation Fund, and NRCan/TEAM are key in reducing the financial risk posed by the introduction of this innovative technology into the marketplace," says Claude Letourneau, President & CEO, Vaperma Inc.

"We are confident in the successful demonstration of the commercial viability of our membrane systems in partnership with GreenField Ethanol and look forward to the demonstration phase with EnCana. Without these key consortia partners, this exciting endeavour would not have been possible," he adds.

The state-of-the-art new research and technology centre is based on technology to which Natural Resources Canada was a contributor with $1.9 million.

"Our Government is proud to support companies like Vaperma that develop leading-edge clean technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate the economy," said Jacques Gourde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources. "In Budget 2007, we invested $2 billion to support the production of renewable fuels. Investing in projects like this will make it possible for Canada to become a world leader in biofuels technology."

"Vaperma was successful in the initial ethanol dehydration field trial of the first membrane system that took place at GreenField's Tiverton, Ontario plant. Today, we look forward to the results of the next demonstration phase to validate the commercial viability and performance of this new dewatering system prior to its commercialization in 2008," says Robert Gallant, President and CEO of GreenField Ethanol.

"The pilot dewatering membrane process is scheduled to go into production in the fall of 2007 with a production capacity of 20 m3 per day or the equivalent of about six per cent of our Chatham fuel ethanol plant production. We are very confident that Vaperma's membrane system will help us cut our energy requirements and reduce our costs," says Gallant.

Gerry Protti, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Relations, and President, Offshore and International Division, EnCana Corporation, says, "EnCana believes that innovative, collaborative partnerships such as this offer a compelling path forward towards more efficient, lower-cost, and cleaner processes within our industry.

EnCana is pleased to be a partner in providing financial support and a future pilot demonstration site for the testing of Vaperma's membrane system for the dehydration of natural gas. This project is an ideal fit with our company's Environmental Innovation Fund, which was created to finance projects supporting the development, demonstration and, ultimately, the commercialization of innovative, clean energy technologies."

Vicky J. Sharpe, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) adds: "Vaperma is a great example of Canadian clean technology innovation that has the potential to be a world market leader.

By helping Canadian companies like Vaperma to overcome hurdles of the pre-commercial phase, SDTC plays an important role in increasing the likelihood that our companies' innovations hit the marketplace, thus offering better choices in the reshaping of our economy. In this way, the investment is as much economic as it is environmental."

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