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    Taiwan's Feng Chia University has succeeded in boosting the production of hydrogen from biomass to 15 liters per hour, one of the world's highest biohydrogen production rates, a researcher at the university said Friday. The research team managed to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide (which can be captured and stored) from the fermentation of different strains of anaerobes in a sugar cane-based liquefied mixture. The highest yield was obtained by the Clostridium bacterium. Taiwan News - November 14, 2008.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nexterra Energy to supply biomass gasification system to Kruger Products paper mill in New Westminster BC

Nexterra Energy Corp. announced that is has been selected by Kruger Products Ltd. to supply a biomass gasification system for its tissue mill in New Westminster, British Columbia. The new system will be the first of its kind in the pulp and paper industry. It will greatly reduce GHG emissions, and save Kruger millions by limiting the use of expensive fossil fuels. Interestingly, the mill is situated right in the heart of the city, with waterfront high rise condos only a few blocks from the mill (picture, click to enlarge). This unusual situation has prompted Nexterra to design one of the cleanest biomass power plants ever.

Kruger Products Ltd. is Canada’s leading paper tissue manufacturer. The company operates facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has 9,000 employees.

Nexterra’s turnkey gasification system will convert locally sourced wood residue into clean burning syngas that will be fired directly into a boiler in place of natural gas. The Kruger installation will produce 40,000 lbs/hour of process steam and displace approximately 445,000 gigajoules (GJs) of natural gas annually. This is equivalent to the amount of natural gas used to heat 3,500 homes in Canada for a year.

Displacing this amount of natural gas with syngas made from wood fuel will lower the mill’s energy costs by millions of dollars a year, making the mill less reliant on fossil fuels. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the plant by more than 22,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing nearly 5,500 cars off Canadian roads.

A quick look at some basic facts about the pulp and paper industry show the potential for a transition to highly efficient and clean biomass gasification systems:
  • Canada has 122 pulp and paper mills in operation.
  • The industry employs approximately 47,000 thousand people (number for 2006)
  • British Columbia has 21 pulp and paper mills in operation employing around 8,000 people.
  • The pulp and paper industry is facing tough times: energy costs are the largest expenditure for the P&P industry. For mills, lowering their energy costs can make the difference between continuing or suspending operations.
  • A transition to a biomass technology comparable to Nexterra's gasification significantly lowers operating costs by millions per year, as it intervenes directly in the most important cost-factor for mills (one gigajoule of natural gas costs $6-$10)
  • According to Nexterra, its technology makes the P&P industry more competitive against tough competition from South America, where operating and resources costs are lower, wages are lower, and trees grow faster (roughly 60 years in B.C. versus 7 years there) using 1/5 to 1/8 the land area producers in Canada need
Potential environmental effects:
  • British Columbia’s P&P industry alone produces roughly 1million tons of GHG per year
  • If only 30 per cent of B.C. P&P mills use this technology to displace just 50 per cent of their fossil fuel use, it will reduce GHG emission by 200,000 tonnes annually.
  • Nexterra’s technology uses sustainably sourced wood waste from a wide range of non-forest sources such as construction, tree trimmings, and others.
Interestingly, the technology of direct firing of syngas can displace up to 100 per cent of fossil fuels in industrial boilers and lime kilns. This has implications for other industries:
  • The mining industry can use it in calciners and smelters.
  • Municipalities can use it for energy intensive bio-solids drying at waste treatment plants (in this application, the technology would yield a useful fertilizer and reduce landfill waste)
  • The gypsum industry could use it for dryers (20-30 per cent of their cost too is energy.)
  • Each of these carbon-intensive industries would significantly lower their operating costs and carbon footprint.
Kruger, Nexterra and FPInnovations have formed a consortium to build the new system, the first commercial demonstration of Nexterra’s direct fired gasification solution (schematic, click to enlarge). The project has received support from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the British Columbia Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund and Ethanol BC:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Earlier this year, Nexterra announced the successful completion of a two-year testing program to confirm that direct firing of syngas can displace up to 100 per cent of the fossil fuels in industrial boilers and lime kilns (previous post). The Kruger mill is the first to go full scale and commerical with Nexterra's technology. The project is the first to receive B.C. ICE Fund support.
B.C.’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund invested in this project because it benefits industry, the environment and the people of B.C. It speaks to the potential of B.C.’s clean technology sector to help our industries lower costs and remain competitive, while also significantly lowering their carbon footprint. - Ida Chong, Minister of Technology, Trade and Economic Development
Jim Dangerfield of FPInnovations said advancements to Nexterra’s gasification technology makes the switch from fossil fuels to syngas an attractive option for many of North America’s pulp and paper mills and other industrial sites.

Nexterra’s direct fired gasification system is a platform technology that can be used in many industrial applications. Replicating the technology at industrial sites throughout B.C. could result in an estimated 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission reductions in British Columbia annually by 2020.

Earlier Nexterra was selected by Johnson Controls for the multi-million dollar biomass gasification system at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The ORNL recently chose biomass as the renewable energy source to power its campuses (previous post).

About the partners

Kruger Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kruger Inc., is Canada’s leading tissue manufacturer. Kruger Inc. is a major producer of publication papers, tissue, lumber and other wood products, corrugated cartons from recycled fibers, green and renewable energy and wines and spirits. The company is also a leader in paper and paperboard recycling in North America. Kruger operates facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, in the United States and the United Kingdom and has 9,000 employees.

Nexterra Energy is a leading developer and supplier of advanced gasification systems that enable customers to self-generate clean, low cost heat and/or power using waste fuels "inside-the fence" at institutional and industrial facilities. Nexterra gasification systems provide a unique combination of attributes including design simplicity, reliability, versatility, ultra-low emissions, low cost and full automation to provide customers with a superior value proposition compared to conventional solutions. Nexterra is a private company based in Vancouver, B.C.

Founded on April 1, 2007, FPInnovations brought together Feric, Forintek, Paprican and the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre of Natural Resources Canada, to create the world’s largest private, not-for-profit forest research institute. With over 600 employees located across Canada, it united the individual strengths of each of these internationally recognized forest research and development institutes into a single, greater force. FPInnovations is defining the future of forest sector research through: leadership in forestry; innovation in wood products; and creativity in pulp, paper and beyond.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) puts innovative science and technology to work so Canada’s natural resources sector can continue to contribute to our quality of life, now and in the future. It implements the Government of Canada’s ecoENERGY initiatives.

The mandate of B.C. Government's ICE Fund is to accelerate the development of new energy technologies that have the potential to solve real, everyday energy and environmental issues and create significant socio-economic benefits for all British Columbians. ICE Fund investments address specific BC energy and environmental problems, showcase B.C. technologies that have a strong potential for international market, support new pre-commercial energy technology, and demonstrate commercial success for new energy technologies.

Ethanol BC is a non-profit R&D funding organization administered by FPInnovations. Grant funding comes from a unique tax shifting mechanism established under regulation by the provincial government. The program effectively allows forest companies operating bee-hive incinerators to pay a portion of their permit fees to Ethanol BC. These funds in turn are used to spur research and demonstration of new technologies that will ultimately utilize mill wood residues that are now being incinerated as waste.

Nexterra: Nexterra Energy to Supply Biomass Gasification System to Kruger Products Paper Mill in New Westminster BC Direct Fired Boiler Application Marks Industry First - November 19, 2008.

Biopact: Nexterra biomass gasification ready to displace up to 60% fossil fuels in lime kilns, 100% in boilers - August 19, 2008

Biopact: Nexterra receives order for biomass gasification system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory - reduces 30,000t GHGs, saves $8.7m per year - September 12, 2008


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