Bio-En Power Inc., a Canadian developer and operator of large anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities, knows how to make biogas consistently and reliably out of a wide range of organic liquids and solids. To date, they have built 4 large-scale projects in the Americas totalling 345,000 tonnes of waste processing technology and more than 9 MW of installed capacity.
Headquartered in Elmira, Ontario, Bio-En was incorporated in 2005 after one of the future shareholders of Bio-En learned about biogas from a colleague in the industry from their native Austria and saw an opportunity to bring the Austrian technology back to Canada. Since then, Bio-En has worked exclusively with the Austrian firm, a partnership that allows them to access robust engineering design and European machinery.
Bio-En is a technology vendor, but also an owner and facility operator. Bio-En owns and operates the 2.85MW facility located Elmira, Ontario and has gained valuable experience running the plant while handling some of the most contaminated organic waste streams in Canada. The site has proven success in continuous operational improvements, handling contaminated feedstock and marketing digestate.
The facility routines processes “dirty” organics that contain up to 30 percent inorganic contaminants. After processing, the material entering the digester is clean and can meet the highest standards for land application. Their digestate is one of the first in Canada to be a licensed fertilizer by CFIA and the first used for certified organic farming. One hundred percent of digestate is successfully marketed and sold with current demand exceeding supply.
Bio-En recently extended their project reach beyond Canadian borders with their latest facility in Nicaragua, the country’s first AD facility. The facility in Nicaragua is the largest Bio-En has built to date. It processes 100,000 tonnes of agricultural residues annually and the renewable energy meets 90% of the operation’s own electrical and all of their boiler fuel needs.
Bio-En’s owner’s perspective gives them deep and practical insights into how to design and operate projects so that they always run well. “We know how to design and operate fully-integrated biogas facilities that optimize the sourcing of feedstock, and how to seamlessly market the fertilizer that is also produced by our plants” says Paul Taylor, Manager of New Business Development at Bio-En.
Despite the discouraging recent political change in Ontario, Bio-En believes the outlook for the biogas industry is positive recognizing that most markets with this type of technology will continue to progress, especially as municipalities are looking into AD to meet their waste diversion targets and replace aging infrastructure. They are also encouraged by the sustained interest in the Elmira facility, hosting 2 to 3 tours per week for delegates from across the globe who are intrigued by the successful model to take in waste and make clean fertilizer and energy.
Bio-En has been a member of the Canadian Biogas Association since inception and has been engaged with the CBA for a very long time. They see great value in the opportunity to network and work as an industry together to build the sector and look forward to continued involvement with the CBA.