Archive | Peat Energy

Peat fuel producer faces uphill battle to join province’s biomass program – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 8, 2009)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business ianross@nob.on.ca.

A Toronto-based manufacturer of peat fuel wants more transparency from the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) on its plan to replace coal with wood biomass fuel at its generating plants.

For years, Peter Telford has been trying to muscle his way into Ontario’s green fuel mix ever since the McGuinty government pledged to ween all of its power plants off coal by 2014.

His company, Peat Resources Ltd., was one of 80 respondents to OPG’s procurement call last winter to help supply and transport biomass to feed their generating station boilers to produce a cleaner form of electricity.

With 30,000 ha under permit in northwestern Ontario, Telford wants to harvest and produce peat pellets from bogs in Upsala where his proposed operation would create as many as 200 jobs.

While OPG has been telling those respondents this summer it is refining biomass fuel specifications and requirements, the engineering is underway to have the Atikokan Generating Station converted over to operate as the first biomass-burning plant by 2012. Continue Reading →

Peat Fuel for Ring of Fire and Aboriginal Communities: Economic and Environmental Benefits – by Stan Sudol (June 27, 2013)

One of the biggest issues with the Ring of Fire development and the surrounding Aboriginal communities is the lack of competitively priced electricity and the enormously high cost – about one billion dollars – of connecting the region to Ontario’s power grid.

Currently, isolated First Nations depend on very expensive diesel fuel that must be supplied by trucks on winter roads or flown in. The proposed mining operations are projected to need about 30 megawatts (MW) of power.

Amazingly, most of the swampy lowlands and many parts of the Canadian Shield throughout northern Ontario contain a source of energy that has been used for centuries in Europe – peat fuel.

This slowly renewing bio-mass energy source – distinct from fossil fuel – is formed from the partial decomposition of plants under very wet and acidic conditions. It is usually made up of two separate layers, the top being lighter in colour, less decomposed and used primarily for horticultural applications while the dark dense lower layers are excellent for fuel. Peatlands can be described as a wet spongy “floating carpet” of land and are often known as bogs, fens, mires, moors, or in Canada, muskeg.

Peat can be processed into fuel-grade material with energy values equivalent to coal but with only ten per cent of the black rock’s sulphur content, virtually no mercury and produces less ash waste and dust emissions. Canada has the world’s largest area of peat lands, estimated to be 41 per cent of the world’s total, half of which is located in northern Ontario. Continue Reading →

Opportunities for Northern Ontario’s Bioenergy Resources – by Dr. Peter Telford (April 17, 2013)

These remarks are from the CI Ontario Power Conference on April 17, 2013, during a panel discussion about the Ring of Fire and Northern Development: Addressing the Challenges of Generation, Transmission and Project Development in Northern Ontario.

Dr. Peter Telford

One of the many challenges for renewable energy, whether it be wind, solar or biomass, and why, with current technologies and economies, renewables will rarely be able to fully replace base-load power supplied by fossil fuels or nuclear, are the inherent limitations – the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine, biomass resources in their various forms are not always in abundant supply or in the right place.

In the past day and a half we have heard lots of references to wind and solar so I’ll focus these brief remarks on biomass which, of course, is the principal interest of my company. This is not intended to be a promo for Peat Resources Limited but I’m happy if the name catches your attention.

Biomass can be many things – wood waste from the forest products industry, dedicated agricultural crops, waste generated by other farming or food processing activity, or my personal favourite, peat, which has been used to produce electricity in Europe for many generations. While they have obvious environmental advantages, there are also limitations to these types of bioenergy resources competing economically with traditional fossil fuels – especially in this current time of very low natural gas prices. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 6 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Developments in Peat Harvesting Technology in Finland – Summary

Between the 1940s and the present, Finland’s peat industry went from being behind technologically to become the world’s leading innovator and producer of peat technology.

Between the 1940s and the 1960s the Association of Finnish Peat Industries, which was established during the war years, took care that Finnish know-how did not lag behind that of the world’s leading peat producing nations: the Soviet Union, Germany and Ireland. The period of cheap oil in the 1950s and 1960s spelt a downturn for Finland’s peat industry.

The Association of Finnish Peat Industries nonetheless actively monitored technological innovations in the sector. A particular area of interest was the milled peat technology developed in the Soviet Union which allowed large production volumes on a viable industrial scale. Milled peat could be used to make both garden and fuel peat and as a fuel for pulverised fuel-fired power plants. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 5 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

The Energy Peat Market in Finland – Summary

In the late 1960s and the early 1970s the decision makers in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the management of the State Fuel Centre wisely foresaw that it was necessary to create a functioning market for peat. Small-scale producers, inconsistent peat quality and reliance on one customer (the Finnish State Railways) were factors that sowed the seeds of destruction for sod peat production in the 1950s. Admittedly the sector had also been depressed by exceptionally cheap oil. It had become clear that without state subsidies the peat industry could not compete against oil and coal because the imported fuels had a higher thermal value and prices in the 1960s were heading downwards.

Peat had to make up in price and security of supply what it lost in thermal value. A price comparison was made with oil in the 1960s and the early 1970s. Essentially peat was, and still is, a good fuel in terms of security of supply because the production, supply and usage chains are all within Finland. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 4 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Peat as a Source of Energy: Environmental Awareness and Environmental Protection – Summary

Environmental protection and environmental awareness related to the utilisation of peat and peatlands have undergone a considerable transformation between the 1960s and the present day. The focus of environmental protection has also varied over time: in the 1960s and 70s mire conservation programmes and the impact of the peat industry on conservation targets were in the forefront; in the 1980s and 90s watercourse protection and the impact of peat extraction on biodiversity were among the key issues, and in the 1990s and since 2000 environmental protection has been dominated by climate policy, linked to the greenhouse gas emissions from peat combustion and the land usage of peatlands.

In terms of environmental awareness, there has been a progression towards a principle of increased environmental responsibility. The awareness of the peat industry – and of Finnish industry in general – of the environmental impact of their activities increased in the 1980s, and at the same time data on the impacts became available, the authorities imposed more standards and environmental protection started to be a major area of stakeholder interaction. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 3 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Finnish Energy Policy and Peat as a Source of Energy – Summary

Finnish policy on energy and the operations of Vapo, which are elucidated in this chapter, changed quite drastically from the days of the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s to the present day.

Before the first oil crisis in 1973–74, the Finnish energy system relied basically on hydropower and increasing imports of coal and crude oil. Especially in the 1960s, the energy self-sufficiency rate weakened and oil dependency grew significantly, causing problems for the security of energy supply. In addition, energy efficiency and energy savings were not a high priority since Finland imported most of its energy carriers (oil and coal) from the USSR.

The use of wood as an energy source, a traditional fuel for cooking and heating for centuries and for industrial power plants since the adoption of combustion technology in the late 19th century, declined after the Second World War as a result of nationwide electrification and the emergence of oil-fuelled district heating systems and power plants. Oil prices remained very low from the Korean War to the beginning of the 1970s.

Furthermore, policies regarding the use of forest resources were dictated by the importance of the expanding forest industry for the economy as a whole, and thus the use of wood as an energy source for non-industrial combustion plants was not particularly championed in the 1960s. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 2 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Peat as an Energy Source before the First Oil Crisis – Summary

The subject of this study – biomass energy (e.g. wood, peat, reed canary grass, crops and waste) – is an area that has raised expectations in countries with extensive forest and peatland resources and fields. In spite of its CO2 emissions, biomass combustion is generally considered to be greenhouse gas-neutral because it is part of the contemporary carbon cycle (Randolph & Masters 2008).

However, peat is an exception among biomass-based fuels; it has been classified as a fossil fuel by the EU and as a slowly renewable biomass fuel by the Finnish government and the Finnish and Swedish peat industries. Thus it is not globally accepted that peat can be classified as a slowly renewable energy source or even as a biomass. Patrick Crill, Atte Korhola and Ken Hargreaves, all internationally recognised peatland and climate change experts, suggested in 2000 that peat should be classified as a biomass fuel, so as to distinguish it from biofuels (such as wood) and from fossil fuels (such as coal, lignite and oil shale) (Crill, Korhola and Hargreaves 2000).

However, their reasoning and conclusions have been criticized by environmental movements. The discussion on the classification of peat is still on going. Based on research by Finnish and Swedish scientists in the early 2000s, the IPCC placed peat fuel in a separate category, “peat”, occupying an intermediate position between biomass and lignite. On the whole, peat is still an energy source the definitions of which vary enormously between countries and also political parties. Continue Reading →

“Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” (Part 1 of 6)

While most of the publication “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” is written in the Finnish language, the following six English summaries give valuable insight into this largely unknown energy source. Vapo Oy is the largest producer of Peat Fuel in Finland.

Northern Ontario has some of the largest deposits of peat fuel in the world. The North’s vast bogs have the energy equivalent of 72 billion barrels of oil – this province’s own version of the Alberta tar sands, none of which is being harvested for energy use. Current provincial resources policies are very hostile to the sustainable development of this strategic energy source. – Stan Sudol

Power and Heat from Peat

The use of peat for energy has a long and colourful history. The attitudes towards peat have ranged from confidence to criticism – often based on a vague understanding of how peat can be utilised.

Vapo’s 70th Anniversary Commemorative Book “Power and Heat from Peat – Peat in Finnish Energy Policy” takes the reader through yet unexplored paths of history and describes how peat has become an important part of Finland’s energy supply. Continue Reading →

Commentary About “Mining Marshall Plan for Northern Ontario” – by Fred Haavisto (Sault Ste. Marie Community Forester)

I read your latest article this evening in Northern Ontario Business (Mining Marshall Plan for Northern Ontario).  This was very well done, informative and a must read for every provincial and federal politician from Ontario.  You have made many key points that should be taken under consideration immediately, if not sooner.   Of course, the article tickled a number of thoughts in the mind of a lowly forester who has experienced the wilds of northern Ontario, especially those areas that have a peat substrate and high water levels.

Thank you for the heads-up on Quebec’s “Plan Nord”.  By your comments, it is much more meaningful than Ontario’s “Growth Plan for Northern Ontario 2011”.  However, as the authors said of the Ontario document….”…This Plan is a strategic framework that will guide decision-making and investment planning in Northern Ontario over the next 25 years”.

Your recommendations for a “Mining Marshall Plan” are to the point, imperative to the implemented, and applies equally well to the forest industry.  In actuality, Mining and Forestry should probably work hand-in-hand. 

1) Transportation infrastructure is necessary for both, but should not be restricted for the sole use of either or both of these sectors.  Continue Reading →

A newkind of harvest [Northern Ontario Peat fuel] – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February, 2009)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business ianross@nob.on.ca and this article is from the February, 2009 issue.

Provincial off-coal promise speeds prospects for northwestern Ontario peat fuel development

A test burn of peat pellets this spring at an Atikokan generating station could build a case for a new type of forestry in northwestern Ontario. Peat Resources Ltd. is working with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and university researchers to determine if peat can be a viable renewable fuel to help the province get off using coal for electricity generation by 2014.

The Toronto’s company’s once-stalled peat harvesting project in Upsala is back on track through a collaboration with the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Lakehead University, Ottawa’s
CANMET Energy Technology Centre and OPG.

They are involved in a large combustion trial at the Atikokan Generating Station combining 500 tons of peat pellets with wood pellets and coal. OPG was granted a Certificate of Approval by Ministry of the Environment this year to do a limited test burn. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Peat Resources in Ontario

July 5, 2011

Trading Symbol:  PET-TSX Venture Exchange

Peat Resources Limited has renewed its permits on 19,000 hectares of peatlands in the Upsala area of northwestern Ontario and has received a Letter of Authority from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to carry out surveys and resource evaluations of peatlands in the McFaulds Lake (Ring of Fire) region.

As previously reported, the Upsala properties are located adjacent to the TransCanada Highway and CP railway, about 130 km northwest of Thunder Bay, and contain approximately 200 million tonnes of fuel-grade peat (defined at NI 43-101 standard).  The peat resources are within economic transportation distance of OPG’s Atikokan Generating Station and the Port of Thunder Bay.

The McFaulds Lake peatlands are of special interest because of their proximity to Ring of Fire mineral exploration activity.  Proposals for development of these base metal deposits point to the need for over 50 MW of power at the remote mine sites and up to 300 MW at a ferrochrome processing facility at a location to be determined in northern Ontario.  Peat Resources Limited is in discussion with the mining companies, provincial government authorities including the Ring of Fire Secretariat and First Nations of the region.  Continue Reading →

For peat’s sake: Use this source of energy – Stan Sudol (Toronto Star – February 11, 2005)

The Toronto Star, which has the largest broadsheet circulation in Canada,  has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion.

This article is being posted for archival purposes. Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively on mining issues. stan.sudol@republicofmining.com

Not since the oil price hikes of the 1970s has Ontario’s energy future been so precarious. Dwindling North American gas supplies, Middle-East turmoil and enormous energy demands from Chinas are all causing shortages and price increases of oil, gas and coal.

To keep a green election promise to reduce pollution, the Ontario Liberals are committed to closing five coal-fired power plants, which supply 25 per cent of the province’s electricity.

The one Ontario fuel source that could help the province weather the energy turmoil of the next few years is all but ignored. That energy source is peat, a relatively economical alternative that produces significantly less pollution than coal. A 1982 provincial report indicated that Ontario’s peat resources have the energy equivalent of approximately 26 billion barrels of oil – this province’s version of the Alberta tar sands. Continue Reading →

Peat Resources hopes to fuel the Ring of Fire – Resource World Magazine – (May 2010)

http://www.peatresources.com/

http://www.resourceworld.com/

Dr. Peter Telford, President/CEO of Peat Resources Ltd. [PET-TSXV] has a question. How can Ontario meet its political commitments and achieve northern economic development, specifically, how to meet the need of the Ring of Fire proponents for reasonably priced power?

His company may have the answer. Peat Resources has identified over 200 million tonnes of fuel-grade peat in northwest Ontario, representing about 22 million tonnes of pellets, enough to supply Ontario Power Generation’s northern generating stations for over 20 years. Peat is considered biomass and is used in electricity generating stations requiring a long-term, assured supply of environmentally friendly, economically competitive and consistently stable, quality fuel.

“Before going into production, we need to do some feasibility work and scale up our pilot plant operations to a full-scale production facility at Upsala, located 130 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario,” explained Telford. “Right now we can process about 25 tonnes per day. The plant was set up to prove up the technology that we are using and provide us with material for marketing and testing purposes.” Continue Reading →

Peat: solution for power-plant mercury pollution (June 25, 2006) – Stan Sudol

This column was originally published in the June 25, 2006 issue of Northern Life.

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively on mining issues. stan.sudol@republicofmining.com

Due to pollution concerns, the recent announcement to keep coal-power plants open was not easy for the provincial Liberals, but Ontario is facing power shortages. They had no choice. It was a tough but pragmatic and responsible decision.

The government still plans to replace coal-fired generation as soon as possible without compromising electricity production. Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks is mercury contamination.

Before the GTA’s Lakeview plant closed last year, Ontario’s five coal-fired stations produced about 527 kilograms of mercury which was almost one-third of all mercury emissions in the province.

The McGuinty government has been severely criticized for backing out of its commitment to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to reduce toxic mercury discharges by 50 percent – now an unattainable goal. However, there is a solution for mercury pollution. Peat fuel – a biomass energy source-is abundant in Northern Ontario. Continue Reading →