Fortis BC recently held a free workshop titled “Biogas to Biomethane: Renewable natural gas development in B.C.”. The event was targeted to those interested in learning from technology suppliers, industry experts and Fortis BC to gain a better understanding of B.C.’s renewable natural gas potential, how project developers can contribute to developing renewable and sustainable energy in B.C.
The Octaform team attended the full day workshop covered a wide variety of topics including:
- The current state of the Biomethane industry
- B.C.’s regulatory framework for supply
- Biomethane supply opportunities for FortisBC’s renewable natural gas offering
- Technology provider presentations from: Xebec, Greenlane Flotech, and Purac
- Feedstock considerations presented by: Green Tech Avenue
- Case Studies presented by: MT Biomethan and Deep Blue NRG
A panel of technology suppliers discussing the gas purification process: Xebec, Greenlane Flotech and Purac
With approximately 50 attendees to the workshop, the audience ranged from local farmers, to civil engineers to representatives from financial institutions. We tweeted live from the event to give our followers a real time update on insights shared:
Biomethane project requirements: Utility agreement, Offtake contracts, Transportation agreement, Financing. #Biogas #FortisWorkshop
Learn more about Anaerobic Digestion here:
The anaerobic digestion process solves two big problems by creating energy from waste. The simplest way for a small-scale agricultural operation to do this has been to use the biogas derived from the digester to fuel a generator, pumping electricity onto the farm and surplus energy back on to the grid.
Large-scale operations have also had the option to invest in upgrading equipment and sell to utilities companies like Fortis in British Columbia. In its raw form, biogas contains other gases not compatible with natural gas. Upgraded or "scrubbed" however, it becomes biomethane or renewable natural gas. This process has been cost-prohibitive for a small-scale operation but a company in Sweden is hoping that their upgrading technology will fill that niche.
Artic Nova has developed a small-scale upgrading system called BioSling, making it possible for farmers to turn their waste into fuel for their (and even their neighbour's) vehicles. Suitable for operations with as few as 200 cows, BioSling is a flexible alternative to simple electricity generation.
Coils of plastic hoses constitute the main component of BioSling. The vessel shown in the background accumulates the upgraded gas and separates it from water saturated by carbon dioxide.
The system is contained in a standard 24ft container consisting of a control room and an upgrading room. Rotating coils of plastic hosing force the raw biogas in contact with water, effectively scrubbing the gas of impurities and carbon dioxide increasing the methane content to 94 per cent. Biogas of this purity is ideal for for farm equipment and converted spark ignition or diesel engines.
Further scrubbing is possible (and required) to send natural gas to the grid but excess is easily stored in pressurized cylinders.
Is it expensive? Sure, but if renewable energies are to become a real alternative, investment will is required. Many European countries are already leading the way with subsidies for green technologies. As energy prices increase in North America, the will to do the same is starting to appear and consumers do seem eager to support renewable energies.
Is anaerobic digestion right for your operation?