Monday, August 30, 2010

Proposed Manitoba legislation encourages biomass power

New regulations proposed by the Manitoba government aim to improve air quality in the province while encouraging the use of natural biomass materials as fuel.

Manitoba Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie made the announcement August 23, 2010 emphasizing that the new rules would help make the air cleaner and also streamline the approval process for new clean energy systems such as biomass, as a heat and power source to replace fossil fuels.

Thermal treatment technologies included in the proposal are combustion, gasification and pyrolysis. Blaikie added that the proposed legislation would make biomass-based systems more attractive to industry by putting in place a simpler and faster permit system.

The regulations would also level the playing field for biomass thermal systems currently competing with fossil-fuel based incineration systems, by requiring additional air quality protection.

Manitoba Hydro Senior Bio Systems Engineer Dennis St. George agreed with Blaikie that the new incinerator rules will help promote the use of biomass and other wastes as fuels for heat and power generation in Manitoba.” I'm also sure that customers who are currently relying on incineration to dispose of their waste materials will appreciate having Manitoba Hydro's Power Smart Bioenergy Optimization Program available to add value to their business,” he said.

Monday, August 23, 2010

World's first "green highway" planned in Finland

Finland hopes to build a carbon-neutral “green highway” that would include charging stations and biofuel stations.

The project will focus on an 81-mile stretch of road that would link the cities of Turku and Vaalimaa near the Russian border. Authorities in the town of Loviisa, east of Helsinki and along the proposed highway, suggested the “green” approach and are leading the project.

“The aim is to create the model for an ecological highway that could be used even on an international level,” city official Aki Marjasvaara stated. “No other such project exists. This would set an example to the world.”

It is an incredibly ambitious idea. In addition to providing charging stations, the plan would use garbage and other renewable resources to produce biofuels and generate electricity. There also is some discussion of installing “smart” lighting that would turn itself off when there are no vehicles on the roadway. The road would of course include traditional gasoline and diesel fueling stations.

Officials are drafting a study examining the project’s feasibility and cost. They hope to finish the study in March and believe the project could be completed by 2016 at a cost of 700 million EUR. Marjasvaara stated that he expects the road to be at least partially financed through investments from large companies like Fortum, Neste Oil and Ensto.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nexterra to install biomass system for UBC

Nexterra Systems Corp. (Vancouver, B.C.) has signed a multi-million dollar agreement with the University of British Columbia to supply and install a biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system at the university’s Vancouver campus. Describing the installation as the first of its kind in North America, Nexterra said that the system will use urban wood waste to produce a synthetic gas, or “syngas,” that will be directly fired into a General Electric internal combustion engine to produce 2 MW of electricity. Waste heat will be recovered to produce 9,000 pounds per hour of low-pressure steam for campus heating. The installation is the result of three years of collaboration between Nexterra and GE’s Jenbacher gas engine division.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Energy Contracts conference in Calgary on September 20-21, 2010

The 8th annual Energy Contracts conference in Calgary is quickly approaching on September 20th and 21st, 2010 and is always a very worthwhile event for anyone involved in the contracting process in the energy industry (conventional or renewable).

I am particularly looking forward to the in-depth session on Carbon Credit Offset Project Origination and Monetization, which is very timely given that our new carbon credit trading legislation in Saskatchewan is just coming into effect.

If you are planning on attending the conference, drop me a line and we can meet for a coffee or drink.