A proposal for a source of clean, renewable energy has been presented to M.D. council, which could make use of the municipality’s waste to generate heat, power, and employment.
Dan Duckering, president and chief operating officer of BioMass Energy Techniques Inc., presented a summary of the company’s microgasification process in an M.D. committee meeting last week.
“What does leadership in waste management and renewable energy look like? To reduce the volume of waste needing to be landfilled, and minimize the cost of waste handling,” said Duckering.
In his presentation, Duckering presented statistics showing that Alberta has been taking a downward swing regarding its waste reduction efforts since 2002, with more trash being generated and more going into landfills.
“It’s a negative turn. Most landfills are covered with ravens and coyotes. There are smells, and more often than not plenty of land and water pollution stemming from them. So we need to ask ourselves if the current practices are best practices,” he said.
‘It’s something we’ve got on the mind’
Currently, BioMass has a pilot project ongoing in Peace River, which M.D. Reeve Greg Sawchuk says he and council will be keeping an eye on.
“Right now, we pay to have garbage trucked out to Ryley, which is pretty expensive. We [council] have also talked about jointly paying for a generator, so it’s something that we’ve got on the mind.”
The M.D. has no concrete plans to invest in any projects, but Sawchuk has said the prospect is interesting.
Despite the negative trend, Duckering is optimistic about the province’s prospects moving into the future.
According to Duckering’s presentation, 65 per cent of waste in landfills is biodegradable–or biomass–while only 8 per cent is energy inert (materials such as metals).
Duckering is proposing to use the energy-rich materials found in M.D. landfills in microgasification processing to produce electricity and heat.
Rather than burn the trash outright, microgasification would break the materials down into a biofuel state and then combust that biofuel to produce power.
The thermal output from the process can reach 1200 degrees celsius, nearly twice as much if the garbage would have been burned in its raw form.
Emissions from the process are carbon-neutral, invisible, and odourless. It’s also cheaper than typical waste-to-energy solutions typically found across Europe.
Duckering spoke on the economic benefits a generator could provide a community; jobs would be created, as well as profits from selling generated energy back into the electric grid.
Before concluding his presentation, Duckering posed a second question.
“What kind of footprint will you be leaving behind on our world?”