New biomass plant to cut SFU’s greenhouse gases by two-thirds

October 11, 2017

By Wan Yee Lok

A new project at SFU will soon divert wood waste from the landfill and help reduce greenhouse gasses at the University. 

SFU and SFU Community Trust are collaborating with Corix Multi-Utility Services Inc., on a $33-million community-based biomass project called the Burnaby Mountain District Energy Utility (BMDEU).

The project, approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) involves a high-efficiency heating plant using biomass–urban wood waste–as the primary fuel source.

“The BMDEU is the fulfillment of a vision for a high-efficiency biomass heating plant that began with UniverCity’s original Neighbourhood Utility Service in 2011, providing reliable, cost-effective, low-carbon thermal energy service to UniverCity residents on Burnaby Mountain,” says Gordon Harris, president and CEO of SFU Community Trust.

The biomass plant will start serving SFU as well as UniverCity residents with green energy in 2019. It will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at SFU Burnaby’s campus and UniverCity by 85 per cent. It will also reduce GHG emissions from all sources around the wider SFU region by 69 per cent.

“The development of this biomass heating plant will allow SFU to surpass the provincial mandated greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020,” says Larry Waddell, SFU’s chief facilities officer. “It would also put SFU on the path to achieving the 2050 reduction target and make SFU public sector lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The project is an excellent example of academic land partnership and SFU plans to develop the utility into a space for education and outreach.