Saewa presents Kneehill with option to turn waste into energy | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 21 Jun 2024 5pm

Saewa presents Kneehill with option to turn waste into energy

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At the Tuesday, April 9, Council Meeting, Kneehill Council members accepted, as information, a presentation from Southern Alberta Energy from Waste Association’s (SAEWA) Vice-Chairman, Paul Ryan.

Established in 2009, SAEWA is a non-profit alliance of municipalities and waste management locations in southern Alberta. Their goal is developing sustainable waste management practices.

“Our project goal is the research and implementation of energy recovery from non-recyclable waste materials, and to get away from our long-term reliance on landfills,” states Ryan to Council.

The technology, decided upon by the project engineers, is Thermal Treatment of Waste, otherwise known as incineration. The waste won’t be burned through giant smokestacks, emitting thick black smoke. The emissions are cleaner than natural gas and the smoke from the waste will not be as visible.

The site for the facility, which will have a processing capacity of 300,000 tonnes of waste per year, will be in Newell County. They have a landfill that is already approved for Municipal Waste Management, and is far from residential areas.

SAEWA conducted a Feasibility Study for the project, which is mandatory for any government organization.

“We looked at how much waste was out there, how it was collected and transported, and the ability to recover heat and generate electricity,” Ryans says of the study. “We looked at air emissions and our control options. one-third of the cost of waste facilities are dedicated to air emissions.”

The engineers completed a life-cycle analysis, alongside the Pembina Institute which are a third-party think-tank dedicated to advocating for strong and effective policies in support of clean energy. The data from their analysis was verified by Oil and Gas Sustainability.

“The project as it is now, with all of the information that was provided by our engineers, is that they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 230,000 tonnes a year, or over 7,000,000 tonnes over the lifespan of the project,” states Ryan on behalf of the report about the analysis which was released by the Pembina Institute.

There are a lot of materials that cannot be recycled due to contamination from food products. These materials go into the Energy Waste facility to generate the energy for the operations. Energy recovery waste products increase recycling through other materials such as metals that are pulled from the waste. There is also the processed steam that can be used for district heat, food processing and can even be processed back into water for the facility.

“What are the environmental benefits of waste to energy rather than landfilling?’’ Councillor Carrie Fobes asked Ryan at the end of his presentation.

“That is a really, really good question,” replied Ryan. “There is something called a National Inventory Report done by Environment Canada. It notes the top contributors of greenhouse gasses. Landfills are responsible for 28 per cent of the methane produced in Canada, which is about 20 times worse than CO2. If you have an Energy Waste facility, you do not have the methane generation that comes off gasses from municipal landfills, with municipal solid waste.”

There has been over three million dollars invested in the project so far, with $1.5 million of that going towards conducting all of the reports.

Council moved to accept the presentation as information and made a motion to request confidential documents from SAEWA before they make any further delegations. The documents will be provided to council members in confidence.

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