The University of British Columbia (UBC) and Nexterra Systems Corp, a biomass gasification company, have unveiled plans for a unique bioenergy project to be installed at the university’s Vancouver campus.
The $26-million project will generate enough clean electricity to power 1,500 homes, reduce the university’s natural gas consumption by up to 12 percent and eliminate up to 4,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year—the equivalent of taking 1,100 cars off the road.
Nexterra and GE Power & Water’s gas engine division developed the new biomass-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) solution.
“This project demonstrates UBC’s leadership in sustainability and our concept of the campus as a living laboratory,” said UBC president and professor, Stephen Toope.
“This groundbreaking partnership is helping UBC achieve its sustainability goals through the convergence of research, operations and industry in the bioenergy sphere.”
What the project will do
The project, which is the first of its kind in North America, combines Nexterra gasification and syngas conditioning technologies with a GE high-efficiency Jenbacher gas engine.
The system will operate in co-generation mode for electric power production and thermal mode to produce steam.
It will produce two megawatts of cost-effective clean electricity—up to six percent of the campus’s average electrical demand—in co-generation mode using the Jenbacher gas engine to produce electric power. In thermal mode, it will produce up to 25 percent of the campus’s base requirement for steam.
The system is also meant to provide research and learning opportunities for faculty and students, yield valuable new knowledge in the clean energy sector and inform new global standards for bioenergy system performance.
Partners and funding
The project’s UBC research collaborators include the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, the Clean Energy Research Centre, the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, the Faculty of Applied Science and the Sauder School of Business.
Funding support for the project came from the BC Bioenergy Network, Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy Fund, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, FPInnovations and UBC.