The Manitoba Government is providing $895,000 to programs that use crop and forestry byproducts as heat and power sources to reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) Minister Rosann Wowchuk announced April 21 in recognition of Earth Day.
“Biomass products are an important link in the value-added chain as the agriculture and forestry sectors benefit financially by selling their byproducts to companies that redevelop them into new products,” said the minister. “With innovation, many biomass products are becoming cost competitive with fossil fuels and are more environmentally friendly.”
MAFRI will be working with Manitoba Science, Technology, Energy and Mines under the biomass energy initiatives and crop residue burning mitigation program to fund:
• $150,000 for a feasibility study using wood biomass for heating and power;
• $100,000 to develop the Manitoba biomass energy strategy that will accelerate the displacement of fossil fuels for heating and transportation;
• $65,000 to assess the feasibility of converting the Pine Falls paper mill and other large industries to biomass energy;
• $100,000 to assess the feasibility of implementing biomass energy at Assiniboine Community College; and
• $30,000 for a project to provide an alternative to burning crop residue on fields.
The minister also noted the province has provided $450,000 to the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute. The funding is for a prototype machine for mobile crop densification which will convert very bulky crop residue into a compact, dense format more suitable for transportation to its final destination for use as a fuel source.
“Here in Manitoba I’m pleased we are acting as a leader in using biomass products to replace fossil fuels like coal for the production of heat and power,” said Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau. “We have access to a significant supply of byproducts from our agricultural and forestry industries and have advanced made-in-Manitoba technology for small biomass heating systems to use these products.”
The ministers noted that, like Manitoba, most jurisdictions across Canada are examining biomass energy as a substitute for fossil energy as they strive to meet Kyoto objectives.