Canadian Market follows Europe in Growing Technology

At present Europeans firms have embraced and dominated the market in biogas and anaerobic technology. Today Europe, and in particular Germany, is a leader in the global renewable energy sector in biogas technologies and biogas related companies. According to the city of Cologne, in 2010, 5,900 biogas plants were installed, giving an electrical capacity of 2,300MWel.  With an expected 3,000 biogas plants to be installed in the next five years, adding an additional 1,700 MWel to the energy pool (Cologne, 2010: 1). Europe appears to be getting the idea: farms produce waste, waste equals usable gas which equals, energy. With the obvious benefit, it raises the question where is Canada in this expanding market.

In Canada, 17% of our energy production comes from renewable sources, making us one of the world leaders in the production of green energy. Approximately 11% of the renewable energy production in Canada is produced by hydroelectricity, with only 5.9% supply coming from biomass. Germany on the other hand, although having a similar energy supply coming from renewable energy (approximately 18%), has 70% of its renewable energy supply come from biomass. (See Chart Below)

(AEES, 2010)

Canada is seeing a growing trend of biogas facilities; these have been popping up across the country over the past few years. But is this a trend that is growing enough? Canada still has a great dependence on the European biogas market, with very few home plants providing anaerobic digester and biogas system technologies. Many farmers and EPC companies end up going to the European companies to buy the machines and systems needed to produce the biogas.

The impact of the increased biogas and LFGTE (landfill gas to energy) facilities in Canada would be staggering. According to the Canadian National Energy Board, “Residential communities represent about 50 per cent of Canadian energy use and GHG emissions” (National Energy Board, 2010). In 2005, ten LFGTE facilities in Canada generated 75MW of power; this is the equivalent of enough energy to power 75,000 homes. Further, the presence of the facilities reduces green house gas emissions by 5 megatonnes/year (New ERA, 2005), quite the staggering amount!

The European technology has been developed and well proven, again, particularly in Germany; there are certain attributes to the Canadian market that local engineering and construction companies can address:

1.       Connection to the grid and or gas pipeline
2.       Specific nutrient management issues with relation to waterways
3.       Remotely located farms and communities
4.       Different thermal demand than European farms

We here at Angus Power are doing just that. We have developed designs for farm based systems in the 30,000 tonne range, dairy farm thermal digesters for farms with 100 head of cattle, and conceptual designs for municipal SSO (Selected Source Organics). While providing turnkey solutions to investors and farmers, our goal is to help improve and expand the Canadian biogas market.



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