Notes from the CLC Meeting of 1 April 2014

The minutes for the CLC meeting of 4 March 2014 have been posted on the Bio-en Meeting Minutes page and mirrored on this site, but the minutes for the meeting of 1 April 2014 have yet to be posted. Fortunately, Alan Marshall has posted his comments from that meeting, and here are the notes I took.

  • This meeting was well attended by members of the public, and an attendance list was circulated.
  • Earl Brubacher asked for questions arising from the minutes of the last meeting (but nobody had yet received the minutes from the meeting on 4 March 2014).
  • Michael Purves-Smith raised questions arising from the minutes (below).
  • Natural Gas production will reduce the electrical output of the plant.
    • Is this to maximize profits?
    • It’s Public Relations — reduce the emissions of diesel trucks
    • It’s a pilot project
  • Expansion of facility — 50 acres, 3 landowners.
    • Bio-en owns 20 acres of that area
    • “Dry Industrial” zoning
  • Truck traffic — large amounts of truck traffic during startup
    • Is not a problem (? I’m not sure who made that statement, Michael Purves-Smith or Earl Brubacher)
    • “80 trucks” was changed to “80 movements”
    • Emergencies (eg. ice storms, backlog, digester needs to be emptied) may need larger numbers of trucks
    • “There’s a good chance of bumping into 40 trucks”, but Chuck Martin says the plant can’t sustain 40 trucks per day
    • Additional use of facility (eg. gas generation) increases the need for trucks
  • Michael Purves-Smith asks about a truck bypass
  • Gas generation — Q: Will there be gas transport by trucks? A: No, gas will be pumped into the existing pipeline
  • Concern about odour (from trucks). Trucks must be closed, covered by tarps or mesh.
  • Road condition at Arthur Street is bad, won’t handle much additional traffic.
  • The Biogas Association is looking for a showcase facility (? for gas generation, or just as an electrical generation plant?)
  • Gas generation will require the removal of Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia and Water before it can be pumped into the pipeline.
  • 20% of the plant’s capacity could be used for gas generation.
  • Is gas generation efficient? Woolwich Bio-en is a small plant for gas generation; economies of scale won’t apply.
  • Gas scrubbing will take place in the generator facility.
  • Gas purification will use the pressure swing method, with CO2 extracted by cooling.
  • There is no natural gas refuelling at Elmira Trucks yet.
  • Earl Brubacher doesn’t know what will happen with the waste material extracted from gas purification.
  • The spent digestate coming out of the reaction tanks is more like liquid manure than crumbly soil.
  • The minutes from the meeting on 4 March 2014 were accepted.
  • Construction update:
    • Construction is at the point of installing doorknobs and painting
    • Engine commissioning on
    • The biofilter is commissioned
    • The software to control the plant is being rolled out
    • Construction is winding down; digestion is accelerating
  • There was concern about the chemicals in paper pulp
    • Paper pulp is wood fibre
    • Inputs are tested for contaminants
    • This is part of the Renewable Energy Approval amendment
    • The feedstock testing is done before it arrives at the Bio-en plant
  • Other business:
    • Running the generator is still six weeks off
    • The generator has been run long enough for the Waterloo North Hydro tests
    • The power produced will not be part of Ontario’s base power, but that has been proposed
  • Chuck Martin was lamenting the complexity of the project…
  • Next meeting will be scheduled for 6 May 2014 at the Library.

Michael Purves-Smith circulated this document:

Business Arising from the March 4 CLC Meeting

Questions arise out of Bio-En’s requests to the Ministry of the Environment for changes to the REA. These questions are complex because the ramifications of the changes requested are complex and far reaching. These ramifications come from changes not only in the proposed operations of the facility, to the types of feeder stock, and to the intended customers for the methane produced, but also to the number of truck movements and to the potential uses of the land on which the facility is located.

Answers to the following overall questions will provide a basis for more cogent supplementary questions so that some of the complexities noted above can be dealt with in a clearer and more understandable manner.

  1. Water:
    Are there any plans (present or future to increase the use of municipal water? And do any of the plans that you will be presenting to the MOE for modification of the REA involve increasing water usage? &#91What about groundwater? –Bob.]
  2. Biological materials:
    1. Woolwich Bio-en has indicated that it will be looking for a modification to the REA with respect to allowable feeder stocks. The examples given at the March 4th meeting and listed in the minutes would appear to be permitted already under the current REA. If this is not the case, could you please explain why not? [I requested an exhaustive list of requested feedstock –Bob.]
    2. Will any of the requested new feeder stock contain SRM or human excrement? [This was quickly answered “No” –Bob.]
    3. What is meant by industrial and commercial input?
    4. WHat is meant by institutional waste?
  3. Gas for Vehicle Use:
    Producing gas for vehicle use suggests a new commercial stream is envisioned. Can that be achieved while maintaining the base electricity output of the plant? Will you need to increase input and or infrastructure? [Purification, compression, additives (mercaptans), pressurizing to 160psi –Bob]
  4. Expansion of Facility:
    Does the company’s plans for expansion in the 50 adjacent acres to which it has access include an expansion of current operation, and will it mean an increase in truck traffic>
  5. Increase to Truck Traffic:
    Given that the company has repeatedly insisted that there would be an average of 30 trucks per day (15 for delivery and 15 for removal), and when citizens expressed concern about the number of truck movements potentially reaching 160, the company insisted that the 80 listed in its Design and Operations Report referred to truck movements, please explain why the company will now be requesting twice that number of movements.

About Bob Jonkman

Bob Jonkman is a computer consultant providing services to environmental and social justice organizations.
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