Canadian Biomass Magazine

Vorus to build biomass plants in Manitoba

March 15, 2012
By Vorus Biopower

Mar. 15, 2012, Denver, CO - Vorus Biopower Inc. has announced that it plans to build two biomass power plants in Manitoba to create biomass cubes and pellets from agricultural residues.

Mar. 15, 2012, Denver, CO – On January 1, 2012 coal used in Manitoba became subjected to a new Emissions Tax, equal to $10 per tonne of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions. Beginning January 1, 2014 all coal used for space and water heating will be banned. This has many people concerned about a lack of fuel sources. Vorus Biopower has found the solution…right in your own back yard.

Manitoba has 36.2 million acres of land with agricultural potential and approximately 19.0 million acres of that is devoted to farming. It is estimated that about 5.5 million acres of cultivated farmland is sown to cereal crops (wheat, oats and barley) and about 0.4 million acres to flax, producing conservatively about 5.5 million tonnes of cereal straw and about 0.4 million tonnes of flax straw annually. These crop residues are typically used for soil conservation, livestock bedding and feed roughage. Excess straw and stubble are, in many cases, open-burned in the field, creating environmental nuisances and public health and safety issues.

With the new Emissions Tax, banning of coal, cost of converting current systems to other energy sources and the uncertain future of those resources, another alternative had to be made available. Vorus Biopower, Inc. took that challenge and the creative outcome has resulted in two biofuel plants being designed and built in Manitoba. These two plants will use proven technology to process and densify agricultural residues into a combined total of 136,000 tonnes of biomass cubes and pellets that will capture approximately 67% of the existing lignite coal heating market. Local growers will not only be the supplier of the fuel source materials, but in many cases also become the end-user.

Because carbon dioxide is absorbed during the growth of the crop, biomass fuels are effectively carbon-neutral, reducing Manitoba’s GHG emissions when they replace fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.

Manitoba is leading the way in climate change. They have developed policies and incentives to build on green energy strengths as one of the measures to address climate change while fostering economic growth in rural and northern Manitoba. To promote the use of straw as a value-added resource, the province has included straw pellets to be exemption from sales tax for heating or cooking. The province is also looking at ways to promote the use of biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels. In order to support the biofuels sector, Manitoba has initiated many positive mandates and incentives. These two new fuel plants are an important step in Manitoba’s continued leadership in bioenergy.

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