Canadian Biomass Magazine

Prairie clean energy, Sask Polytech launch prairie biomass initiatives

January 11, 2024
By Canadian Biomass staff

Earlier this year Saskatchewan-based business, Prairie Clean Energy received a $1.1 million grant from the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network for their innovative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction project. The project aims to revolutionize the potash industry by utilizing locally produced agricultural waste in the form of flax straw to generate low carbon bioheat, potentially reducing GHG emissions by up to 80 per cent.

As part of this project Prairie Clean Energy is partnering with the Sustainability-Led Integrated Centres of Excellence (SLICE) at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. This collaboration includes the establishment of a living lab at Moose Jaw campus, free micro-credentials and the development of an online Geographic Information System (GIS) platform to trace and track the source of biomass used for bioheat generation.

“This project aligns perfectly with SLICE’s focus on the circular economy, which prioritizes sustainability and waste reduction,” says SLICE director Robin Smith. “Agricultural waste like flax straw would normally be burned in fields. Processing flax straw into low-carbon pellets for biomass boilers exemplifies principles of the circular economy: reusing, recycling, and upcycling of materials and resources to minimize waste and promote sustainability.”

“We are transforming the challenge of managing straw waste for flax growers in Saskatchewan into an alternative low-carbon heat solution for the potash industry. This industry, requiring substantial heat for its operations, currently relies on natural gas as its primary heat source,” says Mark Cooper, the CEO of Prairie Clean Energy. “This project not only demonstrates a great example of cross-sector collaboration between agriculture, energy and mining industries but also supports the potash industry in Saskatchewan to meet their sustainability goals.”

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