Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Last evenings meeting at the Rec Centre in Elmira had a few more bodies in the visitors chairs than usual. By the way the next meeting is scheduled for 7 pm. Tuesday May 6, 2014 at the public library. The previous meeting in early March had raised some concerns which caused CLC member Michael Purves Smith to bring a page of questions to this meeting. They dealt with Water, Biological feedstock materials, methane gas for vehicle use, possible expansion of the facility and potential increases to truck traffic.

The first question received a simple no there would be no increase in municipal water use occasioned by the requested amendments to the Renewable Energy Act (REA).

In regards to biological feedstock sources both Earl Brubacher and Chuck Martin emphatically stated there would be no human or medical wastes involved at the facility. The requests for mushroom wastes etc. is needed because the M.O.E. require upfront specific feedstocks in writing. Generalized food wastes isn't adequate for them. ICI or industrial, commercial and institutional wastes are simply cafeteria food wastes etc..

The proposed use of methane gas as a fuel for trucks will not require any changes to their infrastructure. Impurities will need to be removed from the methane such as CO2, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and particulates. This is a demonstration project that was brought to Woolwich Bio-En by the Bio-Gas Association. It is a pilot project and is also a form of public relations for the Association. There is an existing pipeline in town which can be accessed near the Woolwich Bio-En plant and the gas can be removed at the south end of town at the proposed retail outlet.

Chuck Martin suggested that if and when Bio-En required more gas production they would probably build a second plant. Meanwhile that is highly unlikely because currently the Ontario government are not offerring any power from gas contracts whatsoever . There was a long discussion on truck traffic which included Bob Jonkman, Michael Purves Smith, Vivienne Delaney and numerous CLC members. Gerry Heiduburt contributed to this and other discussions around technical process matters. Michael's understanding was that 80 total truck movements per day was the agreement. Chuck explained that under ordinary production they would be having substantially less than that but would be pushing up against the 80 maximum if and when they had a problem and were forced to empty their system out. In fact Chuck feels that Michael's estimate of normal use of fifteen trucks in and fifteen out per day is high. Chuck believes that when all is working properly and there are no breakdowns or serious production issues they can get away with perhaps only seven trucks in and out per day for a total of fourteen or fifteen truck moveents. Incoming trucks and associated odours were also discussed. It appears that plant odour suppression systems are "robust". All parties agreed that incoming trucks must be closed or covered and if the covering is only a tarp; regular odours will not be tolerated including by Woolwich Bio-En.

In regards to paper sludge from paper mills I raised a question about chlorine being mixed in. I was assurred that all incoming feedstocks require testing prior to delivery. In fact salt (NaCl) or chlorine would be harmful to the bacteria in the Digester and won't be accepted. Apparently sources are tested annually or every 1000 tonnes whichever comes first.

The engines have been tested on natural gas and they will be tested using the methane gas produced, in about six weeks. We were advised that while there is no minimum power production demanded by the Ontario power Authority nevertheless all electric power produced must be sold to them. Overall the entire bureaucratic process has been onerous and in hindsight Chuck was skeptical if he would have gone ahead eight years ago if he knew the extent of red tape necessary.

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