Manitoba grant program to help support switch to biomass

By Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development | August 27, 2014

The Manitoba government has doubled the Biomass Energy Support Program funding to $1 million, with the additional $500,000 of new funding targeted to applied research projects that will support the growth of the biomass industry, Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced Aug. 22.

“Manitoba’s green economy creates new opportunities for biofuel manufacturers and additional markets for producers,” said Kostyshyn.  “Research and development is needed to build capacity across the province and address any gaps in our biomass sector.  Through this strategic investment, we can support even more Manitoba farms and businesses as they invest in a more sustainable future.”

The new funding will be directed to applied research projects that address gaps or identify opportunities for business and technology development in the biomass sector.  The minister noted that priority will be given to projects with short turnaround times that support Manitoba’s coal-reduction strategy and that project results will be shared with producers, processors and other stakeholders.

The existing $500,000 grant program continues to be available for capital upgrade projects. Provincial funding can be used for up to half the cost of projects that help convert heating systems from coal to biomass or expand biomass manufacturing operations, to a maximum of $50,000.  Eligible biomass fuels include:

- agricultural residue such as wheat and flax straw, sunflower hulls or compacted biomass-like wheat and oat pellets;
- forestry residues such as wood chips or salvaged timber; and
- biomass crops such as switchgrass, willow and poplar.

Since the program started in 2012, the Manitoba government has directed over $1.1 million to
38 projects.  These projects have reduced the amount of coal used by over 7,000 metric and greenhouse-gas emissions by over 10,000 metric annually.

Manitoba has committed to use coal and petroleum coke (petcoke) tax revenues to help coal users convert to biomass.  These grants also support the goals of Manitoba’s bio-products strategy, which includes encouraging the development of value-added processing in rural and northern Manitoba’s agriculture and forestry sectors. 

Applications for research and capital upgrade grants through the Biomass Energy Support Program are being accepted until Sept. 1.

For more information about the program and how to apply, visit the Biomass Energy Support Program.