Nexterra Systems Corp. (www.nexterra.ca), the University of British Columbia (www.ubc.ca) and GE (www.ge.com) today celebrated the successful completion of an energy-from-renewable-waste combined heat and power (CHP) system located at UBC's Vancouver campus.
This is North America's first commercial demonstration of a transformative system that combines Nexterra's gasification and syngas conditioning technologies with one of GE's high-efficient Jenbacher internal combustion engines.
The UBC announcement comes fast on the heels of Nexterra's signing of a strategic alliance with UK- based Stopford Projects to market its energy-from -waste gasification systems in the United Kingdom. Both events signal a broader effort that is being made by one of British Columbia's most notable renewable energy companies to tap into lucrative markets here and in other countries.
The successful start-up of the project at UBC - officially named the 'Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF)' - represents an important milestone in Nexterra's quest to reliably convert low-value waste feedstocks into higher-value renewable fuels and chemicals.
The system has completed a comprehensive testing program for reliability, capacity and emissions, and has successfully connected to the grid.
The start-up of the system represents the culmination of more than four years of product development work and collaboration with GE's Gas Engines business. Prior to installing the gas engine at UBC, Nexterra successfully completed more than 5,000 hours of trials at its Product Development Center in Kamloops, BC.
'This exciting facility targets a major challenge facing society - the need for new, clean energy solutions that work at a community scale,' says UBC President Stephen Toope. 'This is a flagship example of UBC as a living laboratory, where researchers, staff, students and partners collaborate on innovations targeting the pressing challenges of our day.'
'With the track record at the Product Development Centre and the successful start-up of GE's ecomagination-qualified Jenbacher gas engine at UBC, Nexterra is well on the road to delivering a renewable biomass CHP solution that meets the demanding real-world reliability requirements of district energy providers and distributed power producers worldwide,' said Roger George, General Manager, North America, GE Gas Engines.
'Ecomaginationrepresents GE's commitment to providing innovative solutions that maximize resources, drive efficiencies and help make the world work better,' he added.
'This project represents a significant milestone for Nexterra and we are thankful to our partners for helping to make this a tremendous success,' said Mike Scott, President and CEO of Nexterra. 'We are seeing significant interest in this next-generation solution from around the globe. We look forward to further proving the system out at UBC and then replicating this system worldwide.'
Conditions are particularly ripe in the UK market. Nexterra's systems are ideally suited to convert available waste feedstocks in the UK into renewable energy, and recent revisions to the UK's Renewable Obligation Certificate Program now qualify deployment of Nexterra's gasification technology as an eligible renewable energy source.
'The UK is a growing market for clean, renewable energy solutions like Nexterra's,' said Prith Rajendran, Managing Director of Stopford Projects Ltd., noting that combining Nexterra's proven energy-from-waste systems with local market knowledge creates market opportunities for both companies.
'We recognize the critical importance of strong local partners in the development of energy-from-waste projects,' said Mike Scott, 'and Stopford's extensive experience in this sector made them a great fit for us.'
Nexterra is not a newcomer to the export market or to such partnerships. Its energy-from-renewable-waste system is the cornerstone of a $94 million project for Johnson Controls at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which became fully operational in July. ORNL is the largest science and energy laboratory in the United States.
GE Energy, Johnson Controls, Stopford Projects are just a few of the industry and funding partners that Nexterra works with to bring its technologies to the marketplace.
Export Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, the National Research Council, and the Province of British Columbia's Innovative Clean Energy Fund have been key players in helping Nexterra bring its projects in on time and on budget.
'For innovative technologies to have a real impact, they need to be commercialized and used in the market,' said Dr. Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. 'Nexterra's CHP system is taking a big step in that direction today.'
Her views were echoed by Michael Weedon, Executive Director of the BC Bioenergy Network. 'It is excellent to see this innovative technology deployed commercially here at UBC and, with the ongoing research partnership with UBC, Nexterra is well poised to advance the industry here at home and in new export markets,' he said.
More details and illustrations of the Nexterra facility at UBC are available here.