Canadian Biomass Magazine

Austrian Bioenergy practices brought to Northern B.C.

July 1, 2013
By Canadian Biomass

unbcgroupJuly 1, 2013 - A pilot program launched by the University of Northern British Columbia is providing UNBC engineering students with valuable experience needed for implementing bioenergy technology in Northern B.C. communities.

The course, Northern B.C. Bioenergy, offers UNBC
Environmental Engineering students the opportunity to learn about bioenergy and
district heating systems design in Austria, and gives them access to both
university and industrial manufacturing expertise.

The course is based around a two-week field trip to Austria,
which the students took this spring with the goal of broadening Northern B.C. knowledge
of bioenergy systems. The students will be designing bioenergy systems for
local communities to determine the feasibility of implementing bioenergy-heating
systems in their communities.

"Having people trained and experienced with this technology
will benefit Northern B.C. as more rural and remote, off-grid communities
express interest in implementing these systems," says Belinda Larisch,
instructor and UNBC Adjunct Professor who developed the course. "Some
communities, such as Gitsegukla near Hazelton have already started. Bioenergy
represents one possible sustainable energy solution, as it utilizes local
renewable resources. Using locally sourced bioenergy also makes sense
economically; it will create jobs in these communities and reduce reliance on
external energy sources."

Fifteen participants, including seven UNBC Environmental
Engineering students and one UNBC MA NRES student, participated in the course,
which was delivered with the assistance of the Canadian Trade Commission and
the bioenergy industry in Austria, and supported in part by a donation from the
2012 International Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition, which is held in Prince
George every two years.


A critical component of the course is the relevance of the
student projects, all of which are based on actual sites and designed using
real energy data.  The students have been
assigned to one or two communities, which were either already involved with
bioenergy projects, or intend to implement the technology in the future. These
communities include Barkerville, Wells, Hazelton, New Hazelton, UNBC, and
Westbank First Nation.  A further project
was closer to home, involving UNBC's student residences and day care.

This course was also supported by the Northern Health Authority,
who provided students with projects for hospitals and clinics in McBride,
MacKenzie, Smithers, Masset , Quesnel, Terrace, Dease Lake,  and Burns Lake. The students will be
submitting rough drafts of their designs for how bioenergy technology can be added
to the existing heating systems in these communities by June 30, with their
final designs due in September.  The
results will be shared with the project sponsors.

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