UNBC Fires Up Bioenergy System

During a week of record low temperatures, the University of Northern BC has ignited a campus heating system that is unique among Canadian universities.  
November 25, 2010
UNBC President George Iwama used a torch to set alight the wood chips that are the fuel for the University’s new bioenergy system. By winter’s end, the system will be heating all of the University’s core buildings and reducing fossil fuel consumption by about 85%. The system was one of the reasons the University was recognized last month for having the top campus sustainability project in North America - an award shared with Harvard University.

“This system represents a big opportunity for UNBC and the region,” says President Iwama. "It demonstrates the potential we have to connect research, education, and campus operations to an emerging renewable energy industry in northern BC that will be of tremendous value not only to BC, but also to Canada.”

Supplied by Vancouver-based Nexterra Systems, the biomass gasification technology at UNBC converts local sawmill residue into a synthetic gas that is then burned to produce heat with ultra-low emissions. The $15.7 million project is being funded by the provincial and federal governments and is being constructed by IDL Projects of Prince George.

The new system joins a wood pellet facility on campus that has heated the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab since 2009 and supports bioenergy education and research. Both systems are contributing to the establishment of Prince George as a national bioenergy centre of excellence.
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Dr. George Iwama
Dr. George Iwama

Doug Carter, Capital Projects Manager, UNBC - 250.960.7059
Rob van Adrichem, Vice President External Relations, UNBC - 250.960. 5724

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