Indigenous First Nations in Saskatchewan to use woody biomass for power

Credit: NorSask Forest Products LP

Turboden said it finalized a contract to provide the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC), representing nine Indigenous First Nations in Saskatchewan, Canada, with an 8,000 kW Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power generation system that uses sawmill residual woody biomass as fuel.

The MLTC Bioenergy Centre will be located near Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and is receiving funding from the Government of Canada.

The biomass feedstock for the facility will come from residual wood waste from the adjacent, MLTC-owned NorSask Forest Products sawmill. The system is expected to produce 6,600 kW (net) of baseload electricity to power approximately 5,000 homes.

The project is expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by more than one million tonnes over 25 years, as well as reduce smoke and other harmful particulate matter, improving the local air quality conditions. In addition to the generated electricity, the cogeneration system design provides process heat to the NorSask sawmill buildings as well as new high efficiency lumber dry kiln, which will reduce natural gas consumption and also improve the economics of Canada’s largest 100% Indigenous-owned sawmill facility.

Turboden was founded in 1980 by professors from Polytechnic University of Milan, and has been focused on the use of ORC power generation systems. The company became part of MHI Group in 2013. In 2016, Turboden signed a contract with general machinery trading company Daiichi Jitugyo making the firm its sales distributor in Japan.

In October 2019, Turboden’s 995 kW ORC cycle power generation system was adopted for a project in Nankan-machi (Kumamoto Prefecture) using bamboo biomass, as the primary fuel, which had been considered difficult to process in Japan. As the first such initiative in Japan, the project is supported by Japan’s national research and development agency, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which is seeking to promote the introduction of biomass energy.

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