Biomass Utilization – the Canadian Perspective

Biomass is considered a renewable and carbon neutral source of energy. Various schemes of utilization are considered as we try to alleviate our need for fossil fuels. With its abundance of biomass, Canada has focused on biomass as potential for bioenergy use. Recent activities on the biomass utilization, including biomass gasification and utilization of pyrolysis products at the University of British Columbia, will be presented.


At the UBC Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), various biomass gasification projects are underway. Both circulating and bubbling fluidized beds are used for the gasification of wood pellets, pyrolysis products, and agricultural wastes. A dual bed gasification unit is being commissioned as an autothermal dual fluidized bed steam gasification process for the production of medium to high quality syngas. In this system, steam gasification takes place in one reactor while combustion of biochar takes place in a separate air combustor, with the heat released from the char combustion supplied to the steam gasifier via the circulating solids heat carrier. Catalyst particles will be added to the gasifier to minimize the tar formation, while catalytic tar control of syngas will also be examined.


The University of British Columbia (UBC) is considered a leader in campus sustainability, working on reducing the GHG emissions and aggressively reviewing the operations on campus. UBC is now turning itself into a living laboratory and innovation hub in environmental sustainability by combining its sustainability leadership in teaching, research, and operations. Most recently, UCB and Nexterra Systems Corp., a leading biomass gasification company, broke ground on installing a unique, on-site biomass-fueled combined health and power (CHP) solution developed by Mexterra and GE Power & Water’s gas engine division. The CHP system, located at UCB’s Vancouver campus, will provide clean, renewable heat and electricity for the campus, while offering a platform for bioenergy research.


Naoko Ellis:
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