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Last week, Nexterra Systems Corp., the University of British Columbia (UBC), and GE celebrated the successful completion of an energy-from-renewable-waste combined heat and power (CHP) system located at UBC’s Vancouver, BC campus. This is North America’s first commercial demonstration of a transformative system that combines Nexterra’s gasification and syngas conditioning technologies with one of GE’s high-efficient Jenbacher internal combustion engines.
GE’s Jenbacher gas engine will produce 2 MW (megawatts) of clean, renewable electricity that will offset UBC’s existing power consumption, enough to power approximately 1,500 homes. The Nexterra system will also generate 3 MW of thermal energy, enough steam to displace up to 12% of UBC’s natural gas consumption. This will reduce UBC’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 5,000 tonnes per year which is the equivalent of taking more than 1,000 cars off the road.
“This exciting facility targets a major challenge facing society—the need for new, clean energy solutions that work at a community scale,” says UBC President Stephen Toope. “This is a flagship example of UBC as a living laboratory, where researchers, staff, students, and partners collaborate on innovations targeting the pressing challenges of our day.”
“Our government’s approach to resource development means investing in the development of innovative renewable energy technologies that create jobs and generate new economic opportunities,” said Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “This announcement demonstrates our tangible support for renewable energy projects that increase energy efficiency and drive innovation.”
“With this project, Nexterra, UBC, and GE have advanced the industry’s clean energy efforts significantly, thereby solidifying the Canadian expertise in green energy,” said Jean Hamel, Pulp, Paper and Bioproducts Vice-President, FPInnovations.
Designed by McFarland Marceau Architects, UBC’s CHP bioenergy system is housed in a building that was constructed using cross-laminate timber (CLT), a new solid wood building material that can be used as a low carbon, renewable alternative to steel frame construction. This will be one of the first CLT buildings in North America and will demonstrate its market potential for the forest industry.
The start-up of the system represents the culmination of more than four years of product development work and collaboration with GE’s Gas Engines business. Funding support for this project was provided by: the Government of Canada (Natural Resources Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada); the Province of British Columbia (BC Innovative Clean Energy Fund and the Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands); Sustainable Development Technologies Canada (SDTC), the BC Bioenergy Network and FP Innovations.