SWRC Update: Waste to Energy Workshop

SWRC Update: Waste to Energy Workshop

Waste to Energy (WTE) is not a waste management approach that we at SWRC normally promote, but some of our members are involved in aspects of WTE and we knew there was interest in the topic from some smaller communities, so we thought it was something we should explore further and partnered with SWANA Northern Lights to host a one-day workshop.

WTE includes a variety of technologies, a wide range of feedstock and capacities and an assortment of output products. It’s a big umbrella, so we started the day with Matt Hamilton from Environment Canada who put Saskatchewan’s waste composition into the national context. Matt shared that our province has second worst diversion rate in the country and a higher percentage of organic materials in the garbage than the national average, then outlined current and potential opportunities for biogas and renewable natural gas. He also gave a brief overview of thermal treatment facilities and of the federal regulations and programs that apply to WTE. 

The Ministry of Environment team followed by discussing what needs to be considered before establishing a WTE facility. They described the regulatory process and site selection criteria that would apply to WTE facilities, as well as the operational issues that would need to be addressed.

Steve Jenkins, with Energy & Chemicals Consulting, provided a basic introduction to gasification and pyrolysis. His talk included a historical perspective on these technologies, which, it turns out, are not that new. He also gave us a chemistry lesson to illustrate all the different products that can be made from syngas, which is the output from gasification. 

The afternoon included a panel of companies doing various aspects of WTE. Jamie Bakos from Titan Carbon Smart Technologies showed us the products they make using pyrolysis at their Craik, SK, facility. Titan’s technology could produce gasses or liquids, but they found that solids have the best return and have created a variety of products based on their bio-char. 

Peter Voldeng, from VDQ-NRG Systems, on the other hand, is working on the liquids using a hydrothermal liquefaction process that creates bio-oils from organic materials. Glen Smith & Kim Caron from Eco-Growth have a process to dehydrate food waste and use the dehydrated materials in a boiler to produce heat and electricity. They showed off their food waste dehydrator and boiler system by delivering their presentation from inside their mobile unit.

The workshop finished up with Peter Klaassen from Tetra Tech taking a more detailed look at WTE units across the country. 

Thanks to the Ministry of Environment for sponsoring the workshop.