Renewable energy: The leadership of tomorrow starts today
MONTREAL, March 8, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Through its energy sector, Sonic, La Coop fédérée and the Centre de développement bioalimentaire du Québec (CDBQ) are pleased to announce that they signed a partnership agreement on February 9, 2012 for biomass heat production. La Coop fédérée and the CDBQ are joining forces in order to install a biomass furnace at the CDBQ facilities in La Pocatière in order to replace the two existing oil furnaces.
More specifically, this partnership will entail the supply of biomass, the purchase of the multi-fuel Blue Flame furnace, the construction of a biomass storage building and a supply system to feed the furnace, as well as the installation of a network of steam pipes connecting the two buildings and the building that houses the furnace. The CDBQ buildings will be heated by a specialized boiler-furnace, called Blue Flame. Moreover, La Coop fédérée plans to use the CDBQ facilities to carry out combustion and particle emissions tests with different agricultural biomass materials in order to certify the furnace under MDDEP standards. The installation and the implementation of the biomass heating network should be completed by July 2012.
Not only are they forming a business agreement, La Coop fédérée and the CDBQ are breaking new ground. The partnership allows for La Coop fédérée to install a multi-fuel system specializing in forestry and agricultural biomass, one that has already proved its worth in western Canada, in Ontario and in the northern United States. This will be the first Blue Flame furnace to be used in Quebec. The targeted market for this system is high-volume heating such as for greenhouses, industrial, commercial and institutional facilities.
The innovation at CDBQ substantially reduces its heating bill while improving its environmental footprint.
The increase in the price of oil led CDBQ to plan for the implementation of a biomass heating network so that they could properly heat their buildings. "Considering the prospect of further increases in the price of fossil fuels for the medium and long term, we had to envision sustainable ecological solutions in order to lower the consumption costs linked to our oil system for heating and for the production of the steam needed to operate some of our specialized equipment," explained Michel Garon, General Director of CDBQ.
"We are very happy to have gained this partnership with a supplier from our cooperative network who we are already well acquainted through a variety of products and services, notably through the cooperative group, Dynaco. I would like to take this opportunity to specifically thank the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune and the Energy team who supported this operation through their Programme d'aide à l'utilisation de la biomasse forestière pour le chauffage (pilot program). I would also like to pay tribute to our partners: Roche Construction, RCGT and the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique, who have been with us for the entire journey," he added.
La Coop fédérée and its affiliates reinforce their position with bio-combustion
The presence of La Coop fédérée and its affiliates in the agri-food sector and connected sectors, coupled with its historical client relationships, puts them in a good position to join with CDBQ in its desire for innovation. "Following our policy on sustainable development, we would like to make more commitments to using renewable energies. We have to promote forestry and agricultural biomass in the area of bio-combustion. We believe that there is an immense potential for catering to the energy needs of individuals, of public facilities and of businesses. I am very happy that CDBQ chose us as a partner," declared François Dupont, General Director of the Sonic energy sector at La Coop fédérée. Jean-Yves Lavoie, General Director of the Dynaco Cooperative Group agreed, mentioning that as a regional stakeholder in La Coop Network, he is proud of this innovative initiative which is very much in line with sustainable development and promising for the future.
"This news bodes well for the region of Bas-St-Laurent, which is one of the leaders not only in Quebec, but in Canada, for forestry biomass heat production. Professional and skilled jobs will be generated from this heating solution which is recognized for its creation of regional wealth. We are proud to count CDBQ among our sustainable partners. With CDBQ, we are also strengthening the impacts of an innovative and locally-based cooperative network," declared Claude Lafleur, CEO of La Coop fédérée. "I would also like to congratulate and thank François Dupont and Cyrille Néron for their dedication as well as their expert consultants in our Sonic energy, innovation, and growth in sustainable development sectors," he added.
Maximizing the value of farm and forestry biomass
Agricultural biomass that could be used in the future in multi-fuel boilers accredited by MDDEP could come from a number of sources. Amongst others, notable agricultural residues are straw from cereal crops, canola and soya crop residues, and poor quality hay. Agricultural biomass can also be sourced from dedicated energy crops such as switchgrass, willows, canary grass and many others. Without competing with the food chain, marginal farm land can be planted with these types of crops for the production of energy. The agricultural biomass potential for Quebec is estimated to be close to 5 million tonnes annually.
As for forestry biomass, it can be obtained from several sources such as residues from log cutting and sawdust, shavings, trim and bark from processing lumber. Forestry biomass represents a potential of over 3.2 million tonnes annually.
Developing the bio-combustion value chain becomes a must for Quebec with its winter climate and immense heating requirements. These heating solutions, as well as being competitive, fit very well within the perspective of sustainable development.
About La Coop fédérée
La Coop fédérée represents nearly 90,000 members grouped into 103 cooperatives with facilities across Quebec, in New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The cooperative employs more than 10,000 people and has annual sales of $4.6 billion. La Coop fédérée is present throughout the agri-food chain and, as well as being a wholesaler, it also provides agricultural producers with all the goods and services they require for their farming operations, including energy and hardware products, and agricultural machinery. It operates under the Olymel (meat processing and exports), Unimat (hardware), Sonic (energy), La Coop (agricultural sector) and Elite (seeds, fertilizer and pesticides) brands. La Coop fédérée operates a crop production research farm in Saint-Hyacinthe where more than 17,000 crop varieties are studied. La Coop fédérée is also involved in livestock production, notably on behalf of CRF at the sow feed research farm in Frampton. La Coop fédérée also counts amongst its research activities the agri-food laboratory which carries out over a million analyses annually. La Coop fédérée will have been in existence for 90 years on October 2012, also designated as the "International Year of Cooperatives" by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.
About the Centre de développement bioalimentaire du Québec (CDBQ)
The CDBQ is a non-profit organization with a mandate to contribute to the improvement of enterprise competitive capacity through the provision of services linked to innovation and technology transfer in the agriculture, food processing and biotechnology sectors. Accredited as Carrefour de la Nouvelle Économie (CNE) in 2002, a completely new range of tools became available to SME's with the recent establishment of the bio-food incubator facility. Accredited as a public research centre, CDBQ has witnessed continual growth since its creation and stands out on the leading edge of the agri-food and biotechnology sectors in Quebec. Through the realization of innovative and research projects, the CDBQ is at the centre of the meeting place where the dynamics of the private sector and the public interest converge.
For further information:
For Sonic Energy:
For the Centre de développement bioalimentaire du Québec (CDBQ) :
Tel: 418-856-3141 ext. 111