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CanBio/NRCan survey of the bioenergy industry

Canada’s bioenergy industry is growing and contributing to the replacement of many jobs lost in small communities in traditional industry sectors.


October 1, 2014
By Christopher Rees

Canada’s bioenergy industry is growing and contributing to the replacement of many jobs lost in small communities in traditional industry sectors. The industry is also diversifying from strictly energy products to higher-value bio-materials and bio-chemicals.

In 2013 CanBio and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) undertook a nationwide survey of Canadian bioenergy plants and operations to understand the growth and structure of the emerging industry.

Policy: The federal and provincial governments have implemented an array of policies to support the bioenergy industry. Federal programs have played a large role in the development of bio-fuels.

Pellets: Installed production capacity grew by 61 per cent in 2010-12 but uncertain markets led to a small capacity decline in 2013 with the closure of three plants.

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Community heat: Until 2000, only five biomass heat projects existed in Canada. By 2013 the number of systems had grown to 109, led by B.C. and the N.W.T. Nationwide, 33 additional bio-heat installations are under construction.

Cogeneration: In 2013, 39 operating biomass cogen plants at pulp and paper mills in Canada were identified with combined electrical capacity of over 1,500 MW. Independent power producers provide an additional 540 MW of electrical capacity and 150 of thermal capacity.

Ethanol: Capacity in ethanol from corn and grain has increased from 411 million litres in 2005 to 1,826 million litres from 14 plants, nearly all of which are producing at full capacity. Four pilots and four commercial demonstration plants for ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstocks are expected to come on stream by 2016.

Biogas: By 2013, Ontario has become the definite leader in Canada for on-farm anaerobic digestion installations with 37 of Canada’s 77 operating facilities. Quebec is in second place with 14 plants but with twice as much capacity as Ontario based on five facilities.

The full survey was released by CanBio following the CanBio Annual Conference in Thunder Bay in September. The full results of the survey will be available on the CanBio website www.canbio.ca in October.


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