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Ontario Region Switches Coal with Biomass


NanticokeThe company that produces the energy in Ontario, OPG – Ontario Power Generation started the process of finding providers for biomass fuel, by sending a “call for expression of interest” to those interested to change the coal to biogas for producing the electricity in the region.
The company is looking forward to create the list with potential suppliers of biofibre, tree branches and tops, dead and fire-damaged trees, grass, non-food agricultural products and byproducts. The quantities needed will be enormous, but it’s not impossible.
In this effort, the company is helped by the Minister of Natural Resources, who also put the call for interested in public view.

Coal-to-biomass project has been theoretically started last fall, now it seems to be moving further. Technically, the solution exists in lower scale, so it can be enlarged to OPG. The real problem will be the supply chain, as you can’t interrupt the electricity because “you don’t have biomass”. If the project goes to the next step, it will be not only environmentally friendly, but it will be also economically profitable for the local population and industry, as new job opportunities will arise in Ontario.

One step before going big will be to change from coal to biomass one part of the Nanticoke power plant in Ontario; if they will produce 2.5 – 3 terawatt-hours of electicity (10% of total electricity produced by OPG) it will be enough for 200,000 homes for a year.
Wheat dumpFor now, Nanticoke is mixing coal with grain screenings and milling spoils in a 80% coal – 20% biomass to generate electricity.

Biomass is considered to be “carbon neutral”, meaning the amount of carbon released when burned is equal to the amount removed from the atmosphere when the plant is growing.

It is all connected to the 2014 plan to close coal plants, so they were looking for a solution. It worths following the subject, if it works, this is the change more might consider in the future and Ontario is one step further.

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