Surprise, surprise — yet another Vancouver-based cleantech find. I really need to move to the West Coast.
DynaMotive Energy Systems Corp., which is traded over the counter under the ticker DYMTF, uses a patended “pyrolysis” process to convert forest and agricultural waste — everything from sawdust to tree bark — into a clean-burning renewable fuel it calls BioOil. This fuel can be used for power generation in gas turbines, diesel engines and boilers.
According to its Web site, “The process takes less than two seconds to produce BoiOil, char and non-condensable gases. There is zero waste as the BioOil and char has significant commercial application and value and the non-condensable gases are recycled and produce approximately 75 per cent of the energy required for the pyrolysis process.”
It says the BioOil it produces is greenhouse gas neutral, doesn’t produce sulfur dioxide emissions during combustion and releases half of the nitrogen oxide of comparative fossil fuels.
I guess what struck me as most interesting is that the company’s “proof-of-concept” project is located in West Lorne, Ontario, which, if all works well, could lead to an array of promising commercial projects and products. It should be pointed out that Sustainable Development Technology Canada contributed $5 million toward the project.
At West Lorne, DynaMotive has built a cogeneration plant that uses biomass as a feedstock to produce its BioOil. The plant is producing about 50 tonnes of BioOil per day, with the potential to reach 70 tonnes. That fuel is being used in a gas turbine from Magellan Aerospace’s Orenda division and is resulting in the generation of more than 2 megawatts of electricity, a portion of which goes toward powering a neighbouring flooring manufacturing facility and the rest being fed into the Ontario power grid.
But heat is also captured from the turbine, producing steam that is also being used by the flooring company — Erie Flooring — in some of its industrial operations.
The West Lorne site, as a result, has obtained EcoLogo certification and DynaMotive has been busy using this pilot to sign revenue-generating commercial contracts. Its first licensing deal was announced in June with Megacity Recycling Inc., which wants to build a 200 tonne-per-day plant in Ontario and has an option to build another plant of equal size in 2006. The likely sites for these and future projects will be in jurisdictions with a secure supply of biomass, whether it be wood chips to corn husks to sugar can residue. Considering rising oil prices, the company is also exploring opportunities to have its BioOil running in vehicles that use diesel.
Again, always nice to hear of new ways to create green power and fuels, but proving that the technology works is half the challenge. Unclear, yet, is whether DynaMotive’s BioOil production facilities and associated co-generation operations can be run profitably.