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The role of biomass innovation in Canada’s energy future

By District Energy posted 01-23-2024 06:40


The Globe and Mail


There’s another burgeoning use for biomass: fuel for district heating systems, says Jamie Stephen. The managing director of TorchLight Bioresources, a bioenergy consulting and project development firm, is helping to establish such a system in New Glasgow, N.S.

A district heating system is a network of underground, highly insulated hot-water pipes used to heat all the buildings in an area using a central plant fuelled by biomass, he explains. In most cases, these central plants co-generate electricity, ensuring a local, reliable supply and high plant efficiency.

“In many parts of the country, there’s a massive oversupply of low-grade wood, and using that wood for energy will allow us to implement active, climate-smart forestry,” Dr. Stephen says. Good forest management that prioritizes forest health and biodiversity requires a market for low-grade wood and residues. “[Canada] will not meet our climate goals without a significant district heating system build out, that’s without a doubt.”

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