Waste-to-energy projects offer an alternative to incineration and landfills

She said even the ash that remains as a by-product is put to good use as a local farmer uses it on his land to improve the soil.

The Meadow Lake Tribal Council has wondered for decades what to do with biomass waste from NorSask. About 25 percent of the trees brought in for milling end up as waste, and utilizing the entire natural resource has always been important to First Nations elders and communities.

“Our countries have always said that we are obliged to use what we take. When we take natural resources, we have to make sure we use them 100 percent. But until now, we have not been able to come up with a plan that would allow us to use this leftover waste.”

Crake’s Titan Clean Energy Projects saw how they could turn this agricultural bio-waste into energy while sequestering carbon. Farmers bring bales of flax to their facilities, and through pyrolysis and autothermal processing, the material is processed into biochar, which Agriculture and Food Canada defines as “an organic, carbon-rich material consisting of organic residues such as plant and wood waste, such as like maple bark and pine shavings.’

“All of that material would be landfilled or burned in a field, leaving little value behind and sending carbon emissions back into the atmosphere,” said Jamie Bakos, Titan’s president and CEO. farm news NOW.

“If we go and take it and then bring it to our site and take all the carbon, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get to a situation where we’re producing more carbon than the alternatives.”

Applying biochar to the soil has many benefits, including carbon sequestration, increased surface area, and nutrient and moisture retention, making both available to plant life. Bakos said that for every ton of carbon produced at the facility, three tons of carbon are removed from the atmosphere.

“It’s one of the most effective ways, it’s considered one of the top five existing technologies for removing carbon from the atmosphere in a cost-effective way.”

To reduce carbon emissions from transportation, Bakos said they focus on waste from local producers, but they may be willing to go within a 400km radius of the facility.

These are the types of projects that the Ministry of Environment is happy to see from both a business and an environmental perspective, said Environmental Branch Compliance Director Tara Podbarachynski.

And although such projects are not very widely used because they take time to implement, these conversations and the search for alternatives are important, said Podbarachynski.

“We need to manage our waste in the province, whether it’s solid waste that goes to landfills or waste that is just generated by businesses… if it’s not managed properly, it will really affect future generations. And so it’s important that we look at minimizing and reducing waste and how we deal with the waste that we produce.”

Businesses find ways to cut costs or even find new sources of revenue in these projects. And whether these new technologies are used in the future as a carbon credit or a way to reduce their own emissions, Podboroczynski still said there are things people can do to reduce their carbon footprint, and these are projects that companies should consider.

On Twitter: @bex_zim Waste-to-energy projects offer an alternative to incineration and landfills

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