2018 / Generation

Kwadacha Biomass Project - Canada’s First-of-Its-Kind Biomass Facility

Biomass gasification to electricity

Kwadacha First Nation (Tsek’ene) is located in Fort Ware, British Columbia – a community about 570 kilometres north of Prince George that’s only accessible by logging roads or air.

They are now producing some of their own heat and power from wood chips made from an abundant supply of pine beetle-killed trees – the first known off-grid utility application of biomass gasification-to-electricity in Canada.

Prior to the plant coming online, the community relied entirely on diesel and propane for their electrical and heating needs, with BC Hydro providing the diesel generation since 2013.

In operation since April 2017, the Kwadacha Biomass plant is designed to generate enough electricity to significantly reduce the community’s reliance on diesel while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 400 tonnes a year.

That’s in line with BC Hydro’s ongoing efforts to help remote B.C. communities – too far away from the main BC Hydro electricity grid that is serviced by clean energy– reduce their fossil fuel emissions.

The chips are partially burned in three gasifiers to generate wood gas, which is then cooled and filtered before being fed to three internal combustion engine generators. The biomass plant has 135 kilowatts of generation capacity and is the first to be deployed at a remote, off-grid location where reliability – and an ongoing supply of wood – is vital.

But there’s more to the story. What would otherwise be waste heat from the gasification and internal combustion generation processes is used to heat the community’s school and greenhouses in the colder months, and to dry the woodchips at other times.

BC Hydro worked with the Kwadacha First Nation over four years to help develop the project, and electricity generated from it is sold to us.

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