University of British Columbia Receives 2016 IDEA Innovation Award

By District Energy posted 07-06-2017 16:11



The University of British Columbia (UBC) was announced as the winner of the IDEA 2016 Innovation Award at the Annual Chairmans Banquet on Wednesday evening, June 22, at the 107th Annual Conference & Trade Show in St. Paul, Minn.

Paul Holt, University of British Columbia

UBC's Bioenergy Research & Demonstration Facility (BRDF), completed in 2012, is a $27.4 million (UBC $8.35m) multi-partnered project initially planned to produce up to 6MW of clean, renewable heat and power to the campus. The commissioning and proof of concept was successfully demonstrated by mid-2013. The concept was to build, in a densified urban setting, an industrial facility with a biomass gasification process to produce synthetic gas (syngas) to fuel a steam boiler and or to further refine the syngas to produce an engine grade quality fuel gas for a GE Jenbacher reciprocating engine, which in turn would generate heat and power.

Today the BRDF produces up to 10 MW of reliable clean energy for use on campus offsetting 120,000 GJ's of natural gas, 16 GWh of electricity and 6000 tons (12% of campus) carbon emissions annually. These projects were developed out of existing BRDF infrastructure, thus avoiding any new capital costs.

Presently the BRDF provides a positive return on UBC's $8.35M investment, with revenue from BCHydro (local electrical utility) via a Load Displacement Agreement (LDA) for electricity produced, and by avoiding natural gas and electricity purchases as well as Carbon Tax and Offsets liabilities.

The BRDF is also a valuable research facility, with a research laboratory embedded into the building. To date multiple research projects/ programs are underway and or have been completed, which in turn has improved both the operation of the BRDF, and is also providing significant research into the development of biomass as a green fuel source and other biomass derivatives.

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