Alberta city gets grant to build biomass district heating system

By Anna Austin | March 18, 2011

Sherwood Park in central Alberta, Canada, is developing a biomass district heating system in the city’s Centre in the Park, and is armed with a $1.5 million government grant to help with construction costs.

The Resource Industry Suppliers Association, a nonprofit energy industry association, and Strathcona County have each kicked in $675,000 toward the project to cover the remaining costs.  

The system will use ground wood from pallets and briquetted agricultural residue such as wheat and barley straw and oat hulls, totaling about 1,000 metric tons annually, to supply up to 1 megawatt of thermal energy to heat nine buildings. Six are municipal buildings and include a swimming pool, theater, administration buildings and the city center, as well as three residential condo units. If necessary, the system will be supplemented by the existing natural gas heating system to serve additional buildings nearby, if they opt to participate in the project.

The system is expected to be operating eight to 10 months a year, depending on heat load requirements and weather conditions.

Construction of the system hasn’t begun yet, but the project is slated for operation by the fall, according to a communications representative for Strathcona County Utilities.

The project is believed to be the first biomass district heating system in Alberta.