Town & Country

March 2019

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S T . A D O L P H E WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY MARCH 16, 2019 3 ALTONA Visit Us Today in the Altona Mall Mon-Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 12pm-6pm Breakaway Family Restaurant & Lounge Corner Hwys. #3 & #13, Carman, MB 204-745-6785 • All Day Breakfast Specials • Lunch & Dinner Specials • VLT Lounge Open to 2 a.m. Mon-Wed 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. ; Thurs-Fri-Sat 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. ; Sundays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. HOURS: Carman, MB Vanderveen's Greenhouses Ltd. Carman (204) 745-3534 • Spring Bedding Plants • Easter Lilies • Poinsettias The construction industry's first choice for top quality trailers Clam Cross-Dump Wagon End Dump Side Dump Pony Pup 1-204-746-2348 Cornie Dyck (204) 362-8080 CARPET, UPHOLSTERY, AIR DUCT, FURNACE CLEANING & AUTO DETAILING FAX: (204) 822-9683 EMAIL: Box 1021 • Morden, MB • R6M 1A9 Biomass generates eco-friendly heat and electricity BY BOB ARMSTRONG Y ou wouldn't guess when you drive past the office and shop of St. Adolphe's Triple Green Energy that the business is part of an environmen- tally responsible revolution. From its modest headquarters, the company has been reaching out across Canada and the U.S. since near the turn of the century to help customers generate heat, and in some cases electricity, using biomass that might otherwise go to waste. More recently, Triple Green Energy has been helping livestock producers and others compost waste safely, quickly and efficiently. The company began when founder Raymond Dueck, who then ran a manufacturing company that burned coal, looked out at a field of straw and saw gold. "Our owner, Raymond Dueck, got into this because he was looking out at the wheat fields at the straw lying there and thought of the need for biomass instead of burning coal," says general manager Donald Benson. According to the company's calculations, burning biomass instead of coal can save $75,000 over five years. Replacing natural gas saves even more: $100,000 over five years. And while the cash savings are good for the business, sav- ings in greenhouse gases are good for us all. Because waste biomass — such as straw, wood chips or even chicken litter and manure — would give off gases natu- rally when it biodegrades, burning it for fuel adds no extra carbon to the atmosphere. That means it's carbon-neutral, compared to carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Dueck's insight led to the development of the TGE Series of biomass heat- ers, which are designed to burn straw. Some of Triple Green Energy's products, such as the TGE Series, are manufactured by the company. Others, such as the larger TGF Series and TGF Series A biomass furnaces, are manufactured in Head- ingley at the Sturgeon Creek Hutterite Colony. These big biomass units can pump out a huge amount of heat — up to 20 million BTUs. Because not everybody needs that much heat, Triple Green Energy also manufactures a smaller unit, called the TGC Series. "We've attended many trade shows over the years where we've found that people like the concept of the TGF series but don't need that capacity," notes Benson. Although burning biomass itself hearkens back to our ancient relationship with fire, these units are high-tech. They're relatively quiet and have passed stringent emission tests. They can be operated by remote control and allow op- erators to receive alerts on their phones if fuel is running low or ash needs to be cleaned. The heaters burn so hot and so thoroughly that they pro- duce very little ash and particulate matter. A moving floor inside the burner allows the fuel to dry out as it burns, which allows biomass with up to 50 per cent moisture content. Built-in augurs remove ash and keep the furnace burning at full capacity, with no need to shut it down to clean ash. Producing large amounts of heat through biomass also creates the possibility of generating electricity, and so the company has become the North American distributor for a generator that converts excess heat into electricity. For an even greener approach, it has more recently be- come a dealer for a line of solar energy products, for use on or off the power grid. A number of Triple Green's products have been sold to Hutterite colonies, which tend to have lots of buildings to heat and access to biomass. But while Hutterite colonies and farms are a major market for the company, biomass systems don't only have applications on the farm. Vanderveen's Greenhouse in Carman has bought a bio- mass furnace, allowing the company to save money by using greenhouse waste to heat the greenhouses. Another recent customer manufactures wooden pallets. The pallets need to be heated before being shipped to customers in order to kill any insects in the wood. And since the company has plenty of wood scraps, they have their own supply of biomass. There's also interest from remote northern communities, where diesel is burned for heat and electricity and biomass offers a cleaner and less expensive alternative. A more recent development by the company is called the BioRotor Compost Digester. With a door at one end and vents to allow in air as needed, the BioRotor is a big, rotat- ing composter that allows for safe handling of all kinds of materials. Originally developed in Manitoba by the hog industry as a better, more bio-secure way of dealing with livestock mortality, it allows for animal remains to be dealt with safely – the heat generated by the composting process kills patho- gens, keeps smells to a minimum and prevents leaching into the soil or groundwater. "On the front end, you throw in, say 100 pounds of dead chickens and 100 pounds of wood chips and in a few weeks you have dirt," says Benson. There's another use for the BioRotors that nobody would have anticipated a few years ago. The cannabis industry now uses them to deal with leaves and stems from plants. Can- nabis waste can't just be hauled to the local landfill because it might attract scavengers looking for a free high. So instead, it's inserted into the BioRotor and in a couple of weeks it's composted into "real nice fertilizer." GREEN AND CLEAN Because waste biomass — such as straw, wood chips or even chicken litter and manure — would give off gases naturally when it biodegrades, burning it for fuel adds no extra carbon to the atmosphere. That means it's carbon-neutral, compared to carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Third photo from top: Founder Raymond Dueck (left) with general manager Donald Benson at Triple Green Energy. Photos by Darcy Finley

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