20 June 2011
The Agence de l’efficacité énergétique has granted $400,303 in financial assistance to the Bioénergie Mégantic cooperative to start up an agricultural biomass production, processing, and commercialization project.
Established in March 2010, the Bioénergie Mégantic cooperative is made up of farms in Estrie that mainly produce bioenergy (biomass).
The Mégantic region is home to large areas of fallow and under-utilized agricultural land. While unsuitable for food crops intended for human consumption, this land can be used to grow perennial grasses that are less labour intensive. Farmer members of this cooperative are seeking to diversify their sources of income and find new uses for their land.
The project involves both the production of biomass and the establishment of a technology showcase. The Bioénergie Mégantic cooperative will first plant approximately one hundred hectares of fallow land with reedy canary grass. Trials in recent years with three different species of perennial grasses have shown that reedy canary grass gives the best yields in the Mégantic region.
The project also involves the installation of an agricultural by-product pellet boiler at the Sacré-Cœur school complex in Lac-Mégantic. Bioénergie Mégantic will own the boiler and will be in charge of operating it.
The technology showcase is doubly important. First, monitoring its operation will provide potential users with information on the technology and economics of this type of boiler system. Second, the Sacré-Coeur boiler facility will provide an opportunity to measure and quantify the emissions resulting from the combustion of pellets made from a non-woody agri-fibre.
For the project, agricultural biomass will replace light fuel oil, resulting in a potential 4,480 GJ reduction in the use of fossil fuel annually, or the equivalent of taking 90 cars off the road every year. The potential cumulative reduction in the use of fossil fuels arising from the introduction of this technology in Québec is 750,000 GJ a year by 2015, or the equivalent of taking over 15,000 cars off the road every year.
This financial assistance was granted under the Energy Innovation Assistance Program (PAIE), which is intended to support the development of new energy efficient and emerging energy technologies.
To apply for assistance under the PAIE Program, please consult the PAIE section.
To find out more about AEE programs, consult the Programs and financial assistance section.