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The Voice of Canada’s growing pellet sector
Coal power has long been tempting because it is often the cheapest fuel on the market. Yet that only makes sense if environmental costs are excluded. Coal currently produces 1/5th of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

Coal emits a whopping 125gCO2e/MJ (grams of carbon dioxide equivalent released per megajoule of energy produced). That’s compared to 15 gCO2e/MJ for wood pellets.

So there’s a reason why so many North American and European utility plants have been converting to biomass or co-firing options… They want the planet to last a little longer.

Real-life examples
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) provides electricity for about half of Ontario. The provincial government mandated that all coal burning stop by the end of 2014. OPG burned its last piece of coal for electricity in April of that year, converting its Atikokan and Thunder Bay generating stations to biomass.

You might think that conversion process sounds expensive, but converting an existing plant is cheaper than rebuilding. And using biomass to generate electricity means the planet will be around longer for future generations to enjoy!

Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources released a scientific advisory report in 2012 outlining the importance of using forest biomass to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province.

Coal’s carbon footprint is approximately eight times worse than that of wood pellets. Equipped with that knowledge, it’s no wonder conversions are taking place.

OPG’s Atikokan Generating Station is the largest 100 per cent biomass fueled power plant in North America. And the Thunder Bay Generating Station is the world’s first commercial advanced biomass power plant.

European examples include Electrabel in Belgium, Doosan Babcock in the U.K., Drax Power Station in the U.K., and Ramboll in Denmark.

And in the U.S. there’s Schiller Station in New Hampshire, FirstEnergy in Ohio, and Southern Company in Texas. This is not a new idea; just one whose time has come.

Wood pellets to coal benefits
Here’s just a handful of convincing reasons for conversions to biomass and wood pellets from the OPG:
  • Biomass is sustainable and environmentally responsible
  • Biomass has GHG benefits compared to fossil fuels like coal
  • Wood pellets are an upgraded solid fuel made from biomass
  • They’re grindable, making them a fit for pulverized coal plants
  • They’re dry (~6% moisture content)
  • They handle easily

For information on the domestic side click here.

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Power Generation


Sustainable power

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