Himark bioGas Inc

Biology at work


Courtesy of Himark bioGas Inc

Leading edge renewable energy technology came to Woodstock this week, courtesy of Canada's Outdoor Farm Show.

Trevor Nickel, assistant general manager with Highmark Renewables Research, showed off a mobile Integrated Manure Utilization System (IMUS) biogas unit transported from Alberta to Ontario just for the three-day show.

The newest exhibit documents the process of anaerobic digestion and the production of methane gas from manure and waste products.

'Anaerobic digestion is a natural digestive process,' Nickel said.

Manure and other waste are put into the in-feed system, which is then pumped into the digester.

'That's where the biology takes off. There are trillions upon trillions of bacteria,' he said. 'Their waste is methane gas.'

The process can be profitable, with biogas being used for energy and the waste products used for animal bedding and fertilizer. A further revenue source could come from tipping fees for off-farm users, he said.

'There are good ways to make money with this in Ontario,' Nickel said. 'The economics are quite nice.'

Jeff Rodgers of Ontario Harvestore said there is a growing market in biogas technology. Harvestore distributes glass-fused-to-steel-bolted digesters with membrane roofs for mixing systems.

'We are currently building six with 20 to 30 more in the works,' he said/

Rob Morley of Powerbase Energy Systems said his company has developed technology to monitor the on-farm biogas systems remotely.

'We try to make the systems so farmers don't have to worry, and don't have to do extra work,' he said. 'We know everything that is going on in the system.'

Morley said his company performs the complete installation of biogas systems. The average costs for a 500-kilowatt system is about US$2 million, he said.

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