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The Ontario biogas industry association (www.apao.ca) would like to expand knowledge of biogas - what it is and its benefits - inside and out of the agriculture community.

 

We know that biogas produces power 24/7, reduces actual greenhouse gas emissions, diverts waste from landfill, eliminates odours and pathogens, creates a better than commercial-grade fertilizer (yields +10%) and usable heat, and increases revenues for farmers – but, we also know most people have no idea what you’re talking about when you say biogas.

 

What do you think? Would you support plans to build as many as 500 on-farm biogas plants around the province? This level of development could create over $4 billion in economic activity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million tons annually.

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What are the potential feedstocks that would fuel these plants? You already made mention of landfill waste - an excellent and steady source - but beyond that?

 

What about undesirable residues in the fertilizer, IE - heavy metals?

 

It looks like a better alternative than solar and wind power in that it works around the clock and should be a more affordable technology. I think a lot of solar/wind enthusiasts (both consumers and producers) are going to be in for a rude awakening not too far down the road.

Heavy metals are taken out in leaking process in tanks or ponds, same as sewage.

Another question - why are biogas-produced energy rates so much lower than solar or wind generated?

Essentially any organic material is suitable provided the mix inside the digester has the right carbon/nitrogen balance. That being said, some materials are definitely better than others.


Manure - Dairy, Chicken and Hog

Food waste - from industrial, commercial and institutional sectors is easier to handle than residential curbside organics, due to higher contamination levels (plastic bags, cutlery, packaging, etc.). When fruits and veggies, grease trap waste and other fats, oils and greases (FOG) are used there is no issues with heavy metals in the fertilizer.  Abattoir waste is also an excellent feedstock source, however it does require additional treatment to remove heavy metals.

Energy crops - Grass and Corn silage make excellent feedstock sources as they have high energy values and carbon content (needed for Chicken and Hog manure based projects).  However, they are valuable cash crops and may be more valuable as crops, not energy. Studies have shown that a crop like Jerusalem artichoke is an ideal feedstock - it's energy rich, can grow in sub-prime ag land and doesn't require fertilizers or annual seeding.

Grass clippings and yard waste - suitable but seasonal.

Municipal biosolids - plentiful, but a lower energy value and requires additional treatment to remove heavy metals. Many global municipalities already use anaerobic digestion to treat biosolids, but the gas is just flared.

check out the OMAFRA site for more info http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/ge_bib/biogas.htm

Biogas is a much better alternative than wind and solar, however, the total generating capacity potentially available from biogas-fired generators is somewhere between 300 - 1000 MW.  Ontario requires much more energy than this on a regular basis, so wind/solar/hydro is a necessary part of the energy mix as well. As an investment, biogas provides much greater returns to society per kW than wind and solar.


John Schwartzentruber said:

What are the potential feedstocks that would fuel these plants? You already made mention of landfill waste - an excellent and steady source - but beyond that?

 

What about undesirable residues in the fertilizer, IE - heavy metals?

 

It looks like a better alternative than solar and wind power in that it works around the clock and should be a more affordable technology. I think a lot of solar/wind enthusiasts (both consumers and producers) are going to be in for a rude awakening not too far down the road.

It's hard to say the exact reason, but it is meant to be based on the cost of production and allowing for a return on investment of 11%.  That being said, knowledge and experience with biogas was very low at the time the FIT was released in comparison to wind and solar, so there was an element of arbitrariness to it.  The industry is hopeful that when the FIT program is reviewed in the fall of 2011, rates for biogas will be adjusted upwards and not cut like wind/solar are likely to be.

 

It should be noted that at current rates, not all projects are economical - tipping fees from organic waste producers are one of the main revenue drivers.


John Schwartzentruber said:

Another question - why are biogas-produced energy rates so much lower than solar or wind generated?
BIOGAS COURSE PROMISES PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE FOR PLANT OPERATORS 01/17/11
From a release

Green energy was given the green light when the Ontario Green Energy Act was passed in 2009. Since then, solar and wind projects have been springing up across the province. Anaerobic digesters to produce biogas have also gained popularity, and an upcoming course on biogas production will be of value to people involved in this new technology.

“Operating Your Biogas Facility” is a three-day (February 8-10, 2011) course designed for owners and operators of biogas facilities, as well as engineers, consultants and others who want to learn more about biogas operations. It is being held at the Best Western Cambridge Hotel, 730 Hespeler Road, Cambridge, ON

Knowledgeable speakers will give participants practical information and teach the safe and efficient operation of a biogas plant. The course includes an overview of biogas production and use, a tour of two biogas plants, an update on regulations, and information on safety, inspection and troubleshooting.

The registration fee for the program is $400 + HST and includes the full program, a reference manual, and refreshments and lunch each day.

Earl Jensen, a professional engineer at Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures
in Vegreville Alberta with a diverse background in the biogas field, is one of the featured workshop leaders. He has worked extensively on anaerobic digestion equipment with a variety of input materials, and his knowledge extends from the laboratory to full-scale industrial biogas plant design and operation. “It is the intent of this course to provide solid fundamental information that will help biogas plant operators understand the intertwined processes occurring within their biogas plant. This information should prove to be a useful tool for improving plant performance, problem solving and advancing knowledge on the subject,” he says.

The second featured speaker is Birgit Pfeifer. She is an Environmental Engineer from Germany who has been involved in screening and monitoring of biogas plants in Europe for a number of years. She works in cooperation with operators and focuses on variance analysis, evaluation, engineering settings, biological process, measurements and start-up of new biogas plants. She has also spoken at several biogas training sessions in Ontario over the past several years.
Or you can pay me your $400 less HST, look up all the information on Youtube. Or you can pay for the above course wait 10 years to get approvel to build your plant like the guy posted by the above about three months ago.

Are there any Ontario based biogas plants operational - connected to the grid and making a return on investment?

I would think you would need a big operation with lots of manure to have the scale required to make it worth the effort required.

 


It would be the same as solar return, back in the grid, but you get more for your self than solar, eg gas as fuel, fertlizer. Ideal for Animal farm. Not so for grain or crop.

<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="475" height="385" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BiHDQClpZfI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>
Roadrunner said:

Are there any Ontario based biogas plants operational - connected to the grid and making a return on investment?

I would think you would need a big operation with lots of manure to have the scale required to make it worth the effort required.

 

Yes we have one going in Cambridge go we www.grobergreen.com and have a look.  we also do tours so if anyone is interested our AD suite is setup for them

Roadrunner said:

Are there any Ontario based biogas plants operational - connected to the grid and making a return on investment?

I would think you would need a big operation with lots of manure to have the scale required to make it worth the effort required.

 

Here is a little video interview with Jake DeBruyn from OMAFRA and

 

 

 

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