Company wants to build biogas facility near Kawartha ethanol

By Holly Jessen | April 28, 2011

A company looking to build an anaerobic digester has its eye on a site near Kawartha Ethanol Inc. in Havelock, Ontario. 

Although the biogas facility won’t provide power for the ethanol plant, the two companies will work together on reducing natural gas use at the ethanol plant. One way to do that is to use heat generated by the biogas facility’s engines to offset power needs for process heat and steam.  “If there is any savings like that, definitely, we’re going to try to do that for sure,” said Paul Paszt, general manager of the ethanol plant.

Kawartha Ethanol is Canada’s newest ethanol producer. Construction wrapped on the 80 MMly (21 MMgy) facility last summer and full capacity was reached in January. “We’re still fine tuning the process,” Paszt told EPM. 

Kawartha Biogas Inc., a separate company from Kawartha Ethanol, hopes to begin production on the biogas facility in August and complete commissioning by the spring of 2013, according documents posted to the ethanol plant’s website. The biogas company plans to purchase wet distillers grains and syrup from the ethanol plant for the digester. Other feedstocks include fats, oil and grease collected from local stores and cow manure. In addition, the company could use glycerin from a proposed biodiesel plant that may be built at a neighboring site. 

The facility will produce about 9.8 megawatts of power that will be sold to the grid. About 980 kilowatts of electricity will be necessary to operate pumps, motors and mixers. In addition, when the plant first starts up, propane will be used to heat the recycled water used to heat the digesters. However, that won’t be necessary after the plant achieves normal operations, as jacket heat created by the engines will take over that duty. 

The coproduct at the end of the biogas process is a high-quality fertilizer that is readily available for plant uptake when applied to agricultural land, the company said. It will be treated on site and sold to a third party as a base for fertilizer, reducing the need for chemical fertilizer application. Other benefits of the project include diverting waste materials from local landfills, reducing methane gas emissions and reducing fossil fuel use. 

Kawartha Biogas is still in the design phase for this project. It is also working on studies of odor, air pollution and noise that could be caused by the project.