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Greenhouse Company Embraces Biomass


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April 1, 2012 by Luc Boily

Jean Gobeil estimates that the buildings will require about 13 000 metric tons of wood chips annually to meet their heating needs.
Jean Gobeil estimates that the buildings will require about 13 000 metric tons of wood chips annually to meet their heating needs.

Les Serres Lefort Inc., a Sainte-Clotilde-de-Châteauguay, QC-based specialty greenhouse company dedicated to the production of seedlings, recently unveiled its new biomass heating system. The leading edge system consists of two 6000 kW boilers, an open buffer tank of 1.3 million litres and a hot water distribution network supplying 6.5 greenhouse hectares.

The mammoth size of this renewable energy conversion makes it unique in the province of Quebec. The $7.8-million project, which is now a showcase to demonstrate the benefits of biomass, received a financial contribution of $5 million from the Bureau de l’efficacité et de l’innovation énergétiques du Québec. According to Sylvain Lefort, owner of Les Serres Lefort, the former system burned about eight million litres of propane each year to heat the company’s 140 greenhouses.

“Our new system will not only cut our energy bills in half, I am proud that it will reduce our greenhouse gases emissions (GHG) by nearly 13 000 tons per year, which would be like removing 4000 motor vehicles off the road,” said Lefort.

The forestry engineer who led the implementation of the biomass heating system for Les Serres Lefort, Jean Gobeil, estimates that the buildings will require about 13 000 metric tons of wood chips annually to meet their heating needs. He figures this number is low in comparison to the huge amount of available resources.

“The province of Quebec can provide annually about 6.4 million metric tons of anhydrous [dry] chips to produce biomass for heating buildings. To give you an idea of the capability it represents, we haven’t yet exceeded 10 per cent of available resources in the past two or three years,” added Gobeil. A raw material supply agreement has been made with Valbio Canada Inc.

“Quebec is just entering the early stage of the biomass industry. Our experience, the performance of our boilers – which can reach 86 per cent efficiency, and our service offerings, represent significant advantages for building owners willing to take the green turn and to save a lot of money at the same time,” stated Harold Roy, president of Compte-Fournier Inc. <>

Luc Boily is the managing editor of Plomberie, Chauffage & Climatisation. www.hpac/mag.com/pcc/.


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