Permanent new boiler operating on biogas and/or
propane for start-up. Boiler on biogas operates in place of flare,
coordinated with oversized radiator.
Challenges addressed in this system were
the REA process and the site location.
This system is only second project that
was processed under the REA (Renewable Energy Approval), a provision that allows
for 50% of substrates from off-farm material to allow for greater energy
production: when before that 25% was the upper limit for off-farm materials
under the Nutrient Management Act. The farmstead is also located on an
island. REA also stipulates the waste acceptance rate and storage capacity
The development time for this project was
slowed by regulatory processes that were still being formulated and refined.
One example, the REA process, took one-and-a-half years to complete from
filing the first application to receiving the final approval documents.
Another hurdle was the requirement for a financial assurance calculation and
a cash reserve to address the potentiality of having to clean up liquid waste
storage facilities, should the system need to be dismantled.
Additionally, waste haulers were deterred
by the island location and its logistical challenges: long travel distances,
timing ferry arrivals and departures, and overall costs.
Although Mr. DeBruin was able to secure
off-farm materials for his digester system initially, and he persevered
through the permitting process, the latter also led to the nullification of
the agreed upon terms with the waste hauler, and thus he has limited access
to off-farm substrates.
Additionally, shallow soil conditions
required bedrock blasting and a “close-coupled” biogas cooling field design,
taking advantage of consistent bedrock temperatures. Unique site traffic
planning meant a departure from traditional siting for the plant buildings.
Grid access was also unique, requiring telephone and Hydro coordination,
delaying the project by several months.
Of general interest, the farm-based biogas
installation location is set among one of the largest grid-connected wind turbine
generation systems in Ontario.