Dec. 15, 2010, Prince George, BC – The
University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) started its new biomass-fired
heating system in mid-November 2010. UNBC president George Iwama used a
torch to set alight the wood chips that are the fuel for the university’s new
bioenergy system. By winter’s end, the system will be heating all of the
university’s core buildings and reducing fossil fuel consumption by about 85%.
The system was one of the reasons the university was recognized last month for
having the top campus sustainability project in North America, an award shared
with Harvard University.
|UNBC president George Iwama fires up the new gasification system.
“This system represents a big opportunity for UNBC and the region,” says Iwama.
"It demonstrates the potential we have to connect research, education, and
campus operations to an emerging renewable energy industry in northern BC that
will be of tremendous value not only to BC, but also to Canada.”
Supplied by Vancouver-based Nexterra Systems, the biomass gasification
technology at UNBC converts local sawmill residue into a synthetic gas that is
burned to produce heat with ultra-low emissions. The $15.7 million project is
being funded by the provincial and federal governments and is being constructed
by IDL Projects of Prince George.
The new system joins a wood pellet facility on campus that has heated the I.K.
Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab since 2009 and supports bioenergy education and
research. Both systems are contributing to the establishment of Prince George
as a national bioenergy centre of excellence.