Collaboration projects – Bioenergy systems for viable stationary applications

The Bioenergy Systems for Viable Stationary Energy Application program is currently looking for partners to collaborate on innovative projects. To learn more, contact: Jonathan Martin, Program Leader, Energy, Mining and Environment, 604-221-3069.

Hydrothermal liquefaction of wet bio-feedstocks and wastes

Bio-feedstocks with high water content are generally not an attractive option for traditional thermochemical technologies due to the added penalty for drying these feedstocks. Hydrothermal liquefaction of these bio-feedstocks offers an alternate pathway to produce bio-crude and liquid fuels from wet organic streams.

By using urban and industrial wastes like green bin residues/food wastes, fermentation residues, waste water sludge, industrial/agricultural organic residues, pulp sludge, and algae grown in waste waters using carbon dioxide from industrial plant emissions as feedstocks, the technology lends itself well for sustainable production of liquid and gaseous biofuels, chemicals and fertilizers from streams considered as waste.

The NRC's HTL pilot unit is designed and custom fabricated for testing and demonstrating the technology, and is one of very few in Canada at this scale. The NRC seeks industrial and municipal collaborators to test and optimize the technology for various waste streams and develop sustainable solutions to valorize low value waste streams to renewable biofuels, energy, and chemicals. This is especially attractive for industries and municipalities that can make use of waste residues to which there is a disposal cost.

Contact Jonathan Martin (604-221-3069) to learn more about HTL of wet bio-feedstocks and wastes at the NRC.

Project Lead: Devinder Singh

Developing customized solutions for highly efficient gas turbine engines

Gas turbine original engine manufacturers (OEMs) have been collaborating with the National Research Council Canada (NRC) for last few decades to develop innovative technologies, leveraging the NRC's unique, world-class research facilities and expertise.

Biomass conversion into usable energy is achieved through power systems such as reciprocating engines, gas turbines and boilers. Developing clean and highly efficient power systems is key to enhance utilization of bioenergy. Gas turbines, which can run on a wide variety of fuels, provide clean, high power-to-weight ratio, reliable, and flexible combustion. These features make gas turbines an ideal platform for bioenergy.

The NRC recently worked with Doosan Heavy Industries (South Korea), a gas turbine OEM and world leader in power plant construction, to help them develop highly reliable and efficient combustion systems for their new genuine large gas turbine engine. Doosan engineers spent several months with NRC experts to conduct the test campaign necessary to complete this high-impact project on time.

Addressing system efficiency and performance is just one area in which the NRC's bioenergy program experts collaborate with partners to develop customized solutions. Our research facilities can also help develop the next generation of technologies for enhancing fuel flexibility, lowering emissions and improving operability, using an extensive range of test methods and equipment for fuel atomization and combustion.

Contact Jonathan Martin (604-221-3069) to find out how we can help you develop integrate bioenergy into new and existing power systems.

Project Lead: Sean Yun

Improved forecasting for municipal solid waste streams for bioenergy

Canadian municipalities face growing financial and environmental costs associated with landfilling, combined with a lack of appropriate disposal sites, which are forcing regions to seek alternative long-term solutions. Municipal solid waste (MSW) can be used as a feedstock for bioenergy, but material composition, tonnage, variability of MSW characteristics, and waste stream availability must be precisely calculated for MSW to be a viable feedstock.

NRC worked with the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Ontario branch to improve both data quality and a new modelling tool developed by NRC and its partners to accurately predict MSW generation and diversion across Canada.

Developed in close partnership with Agriculture Canada, Canadian Forestry Services, Environmental Canada, and SWANA, the model uses municipal data to create profiles of communities' waste generation habits, which are used to forecast reliable quantities and composition of waste.

Municipalities and all levels of government, associations and other organizations collecting MSW data are invited to collaborate with NRC to build models for accurately determining MSW availability, composition, and conversion technologies for cost-effective and sustainable solutions to waste management.

Contact Jonathan Martin (604-221-3069) to learn more about working with NRC to improve and optimize your municipal solid waste prediction accuracy.

Project Lead: Farid Bensebaa

Program Technical Lead: Will Skrivan

Turning municipal sludge into a clean energy opportunity

Bioenergy technology is being used to turn solid waste from a challenge to an opportunity in communities across the country.

Seizing this opportunity, the Régie d'Assainissement des Eaux du Bassin de La Prairie (La Prairie Basin Water Sanitation Authority) in Quebec is building a biogas plant to recycle 110,000 wet tons per year of secondary sludge generated by their sewage treatment facility.

In order to transform the biomass into biogas for heat and energy purposes, the Régie set up a hydrolysis tank upstream of an anaerobic digester to pretreat the sludge. The Régie is working with NRC to evaluate the effectiveness of this system by comparing expected methane yields for untreated and hydrolysed sludge.

Leveraging NRC's biotech expertise and customizable anaerobic bioprocessing pilot plant facilities, researchers were able to reproduce the Régie's innovative system and unique operating conditions at a laboratory scale. This let NRC validate the system's performance and suggest adjustments to optimize the Régie's biomass transformation process. The detailed results of this assessment were published in the October 2016 issue of the magazine Vecteur Environnement (French only).

Project Lead: Jean-Claude Frigon

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