Canadian Biofuel

Manufacturer of Biomass Pellets

When discussing renewable energies, frequent topics include solar power, wind power, and even tidal power. But what must be added to this group is biofuels.

Biofuels are a sustainable, renewable, and more affordable source of energy created from commonly found recycled wood and agro products. Produced in a pellet form, biofuels provide an energy source that can potentially replace the use of fossil fuels. Soaring energy and oil prices, a growing focus on energy independence and security, and concern over greenhouse gas emissions further increases the demand for biofuels.

Ian Moncrieff, President and CEO of Canadian Biofuel, entered the industry in 2006 with a model that utilizes domestic, purpose-grown feedstock to produce biofuel pellets. Based in Southern Ontario, Canadian Biofuel has developed local, rural markets for its product. As a result, those using biofuel pellets as a home heating source have realized about a 50 per cent cost savings upon switching to a pellet stove, boiler, or furnace, from standard fossil fuel home heating.

Canadian Biofuel operates a pellet plant with a current capacity of about 4,000 tonnes a month. Commercially, Canadian Biofuel has recently reached an export agreement to Europe. Although this pushes Canadian Biofuel’s plant towards its current capacity, it will continue to expand in response to market demand.

The European Union has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 20 per cent by 2020 through increased use of biomass energy sources. With domestic consumption reaching 15 million tonnes of pellets a year, and with usage projections showing 20 million tonnes by 2015 and more than 30 million tonnes by 2020, and with no land mass available there to process biomass to meet its pellet demand, European countries have pursued new import markets like Canada, and organizations like Canadian Biofuel, to accommodate the demand.

Statistics show that, within the past year, Italy has sold 188,000 pellet stoves as well as 20,000 pellet boilers, so the nation’s commitment to biofuels is certainly apparent. Importing biomass from Canada ensures that Europe will have sufficient supply to meet demand.

Moncrieff told The Canadian Business Journal, “So far our suppliers have been very diligent in meeting our quality control specifications. We’re also investigating what it would take to double our capacity, so this is a very exciting time for us in terms of securing these markets and moving forward with our company. If we can produce 20,000 tonnes a month, we could sign a contract tomorrow, but we do not yet have the manufacturing facilities to meet that demand.”

Research and Development

Another key benefit to biofuel is that it “localizes and internalizes” the Ontario economy. Ontario has exceptional feedstock levels that make biofuels attractive to local farmers and companies like Canadian Biofuel. Additionally, the profits attached to the industry remain in Ontario, unlike natural gas brought in from the west, coal from the United States, or other alternative energy sources that move financing offshore.

Canadian Biofuel is interested in expanding its business with more plants as market demand continues to grow, believing that the biofuel industry is a boon for small town Ontario. Working alongside the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), and potentially Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Canadian Biofuel works to reduce the carbon footprint of Ontario power generators, advocating that the thermal generation stations of Lambton and Nanticoke convert to biomass in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint and grow the province’s energy independence.

Canadian Biofuel is also working with the Institute for Chemicals & Fuels from Alternate Resources (ICFAR) at Western University to investigate agricultural residues, biocoal and biochar production, and cellulose-based ethanol. Moncrieff summarized, “We’re also investigating a synthetic biogas electrical generator that would run on biogas made from wood chips so we could then generate our own electricity. There are lots of opportunities for research and we’re working with these groups and offering our site as a platform.”