Canadian Biomass Magazine

From log homes to energy pioneer: Burkhard Fink’s trailblazing career

May 3, 2024
By Canadian Biomass Staff

Burkhard Fink

With a career spanning two decades, Burkhard Fink’s groundbreaking work has not only shaped the industry but has also established a sustainable pathway for the future. This year, his achievements are being recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 Canadian Biomass Awards.

Fink began his foray into biomass heating out of necessity and ingenuity. Originally a builder of log homes, Fink was bothered by the inefficiencies and costs associated with traditional energy sources.

“I had been building log homes for a number of years and I was frustrated with how we were paying for natural gas as well as paying to get rid of our wood waste. I decided to build my own boiler,” Fink said.

He soon began looking overseas for inspiration for a better boiler, a move that helped form his vision for the potential of Canada’s own biomass.


“After operating it for a short while I quickly realized that a better solution was out there in Europe,” he said.

This paved the way for the development of the first small-scale, for-profit biomass district heating system in Canada — a project accomplished without the aid of grants. This pioneering system became a model, proving the feasibility and efficiency of small-scale district heating systems and inspiring similar initiatives.

Throughout his career, Fink has installed more than 170 heating systems, collectively generating over 58 megawatts of energy. Reflecting on the peaks of his professional life, Fink identifies the community and environmental benefits as key accomplishments.

“One of the biggest highlights of my career has been the ability to work with customers that understand and agree with my ideals around being self-sufficient and using local resources,” Fink said.

His efforts have significantly helped in reducing energy costs, lowering carbon footprints, and utilizing waste from activities like wildfire mitigation, bolstering community resilience and sustainability.

Looking ahead, Fink remains optimistic about the future of biomass heating. He sees stable growth and a sustained role for biomass as a renewable, local energy source that minimizes waste.

“I think the key thing is to look to the past to see what has been done to identify what works and from there take the best elements and continue to improve and evolve them to create simple functional solutions,” said Fink.

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