MHI offshoot supplying biomass power plant for Canadian tribes

An Italian company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will provide a biomass power generation system to the indigenous First Nations of Canada.

Turboden completed the contract with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) representing nine of the First Nations tribes in Saskatchewan. The MHI company will provide an 8,000-kW organic rankine cycle (ORC) power generator system using sawmill residual woody biomass as fuel.

The MLTC Bioenergy Centre will be located near Meadow Lake. The green power generation facility, with major equipment supplied by Turboden, is a project of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, supported with funding from the Government of Canada.

The facility will produce electricity from the ORC system using biomass from the MLTC-owned NorSask Forest Products LP (NorSask) sawmill as heating fuel. The system is expected to produce 6,600kW (net) of carbon neutral baseload electricity to power approximately 5,000 homes.

The project is expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by more than one million metric tonnes over 25 years (equivalent to CO2 emission of more than 50,000 vehicles per year), as well as significantly reduce smoke and other harmful particulate matter, improving the local air quality conditions. In addition to the generated electricity, the cogeneration system design provides process heat to the NorSask sawmill buildings as well as new high efficiency lumber dry kiln, which will reduce natural gas consumption and also improve the economics of Canada’s largest 100 percent Indigenous-owned sawmill facility.

Turboden was founded in 1980 by professors from Polytechnic University of Milan, and has been focused on the use of ORC power generation systems. The company became part of MHI Group in 2013.

In October 2019, Turboden’s 995 kW ORC cycle power generation system was adopted for a project in Nankan-machi (Kumamoto Prefecture) using bamboo biomass, as the primary fuel, which had been considered difficult to process in Japan. As the first such initiative in Japan, the project is supported by Japan’s national research and development agency, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which is seeking to promote the introduction of biomass energy.

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