Plant powered up by wastewater

NANAIMO - Regional District of Nanaimo produces heat and electricity through its wastewater treatment process.

The Regional District of Nanaimo is putting its excess gas to good use.

The completion of a brand new cogeneration system at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre will allow the wastewater treatment facility to not only produce self-sustaining heat, but also enough electricity to power 325 households per year.

Sean DePol, RDN manager of wastewater services, said the treatment plant will be the first of its size in Canada to implement cogeneration.

“We are at the leading edge,” he said. “We are going to get those answers of what it’s going to cost to operate and maintain so other facilities that want to do a similar thing will have concrete numbers that they can put into a business plan to move forward.”

Cogeneration facilities are defined by the ability to provide two sources of energy. In the RDN’s case, they will use the excess biogas created when wastewater sludge is stabilized and reduced in volume by the treatment plant’s anaerobic digesters, to heat the plant and generate electricity.

Historically, that biogas was used as a heat source, however only 40 per cent of the gas was utilized, DePol said.

He added that while there will be maintenance costs to determine in the next year of operations, being a sustainable energy producer will provide environmental and cost savings in the long run.

“The amount that we receive per kilowatt that we will sell to B.C. Hydro is almost double what we purchase off B.C. Hydro,” he said. “We will be making a profit on this, we just don’t know what it will be.”

“In addition to that, as we expand the treatment plant to secondary, we’ll be removing more organics out of the wastewater, which means we’ll have more organics to go into the digesters, which means we’ll produce more biogas and an even greater quantity of heat and electricity.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stilwell begins election race in Parksville-Qualicum

B.C. Liberals incumbent up for re-election as MLA

Best of the City: Breathe easy

Modo Yoga wins Best Yoga Studio category during challenging time for health and wellness businesses

Best of the City: How sweet it is

Burnt Honey Dessert Company serves up city’s favourite desserts

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Help keep customer service workers safe

Remember that people asking you to respect health guidelines are still people, says retail worker

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Snuneymuxw artist brings aquatic designs to Nanaimo’s Beban Park pool

Work by artist Eliot White-Hill is being installed at the pool this month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read