skip to main content

Biomass demonstration project for Centre in the Park

Community Energy Centre

The biomass demonstration project is the next step for the community energy system in Sherwood Park. The energy system was built to accommodate fuel switching as more economical or environmental fuel sources became available. With the support from many partners, the energy system is now using agriculture residues and wood waste to help fuel the system. 

What is a biomass module?

The biomass demonstration project for the Centre in the Park energy system uses agriculture residues (such as oat hulls) and wood waste (from the commercial and construction and demolition sector) as a base-load fuel source. The system uses natural gas during peak seasons and as a back up fuel source. Biomass has been used as a fuel source for many years in Europe. 

Take a look at how the biomass is processed

Benefits of biomass

  • Biomass is a renewable resource and reduces our dependency on fossil fuels. 
  • Uses local agriculture residue fuel sources and regional wood waste fuel sources.
  • This system has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases an additional 1,200 tonnes per year.
  • Contributes to Strathcona County’s sustainable direction.
  • Creates a healthier community and better quality of life for residents.

What will the system look like?

The system is located on the east part of the Community Energy Centre property. There are three components: 

  • four storage bins for the feedstocks 
  • the biomass combustion boiler module 
  • a chimney which is approximately 9 metres (30 feet) tall 

The biomass system releases a more visible plume than when the system is fueled by only natural gas. The vapour goes through a series of filters before it is released. It will meet or exceed regulations for air quality standards. 

The plume consists mostly of water vapour. There are a small quantity of gases normally found in combustion processes including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and trace amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

 Biomass storage units  Wood chips inside the unit  Community Energy Centre with biomass unit
 Storage bins for feedstocks  Wood chips inside the unit  Community Energy Centre

Will there be a smell?

You shouldn’t notice any odour coming from the biomass module. The plume goes through several filters to minimize any odours and emissions. A house that has a wood-burning fireplace with a fire burning would have a more noticeable smell.

How is the project being funded?

The majority of financial support for this project will come from grant funding. In March 2011, Strathcona County received grants from Western Economic Diversification Canada for $1.5 million and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for $350,000 to support a biomass module for the Centre in the Park community energy system. 

Who is involved with this project?

This project is an excellent example of collaboration with a local industry association and institutional organizations including Resource Industry Suppliers Association (RISA) and Western Economic Diversification Canada.

This project is expected to provide small- and medium-sized companies the opportunity to supply chains related to the collection, processing and delivery of biomass fuels.

How long will you be testing out the biomass module?

The biomass system has been used since November 2012. Testing will be conducted for two years with the hopes to continue if testing is successful. Over the two-year demonstration period the fuel sources will be tested to determine which one produces the best results. 

Further information


Last updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Page ID: 39467