A greenhouse grower in Ontario plans to be energy independent by May with hopes of ultimately selling power back to the utility company as it switches to biomass gasification and solar power.
Mor Gro Farms Inc., Leamington, Ontario, started trial burns in mid-March, said Tom Trojniak, director of marketing and quality control.
"We"ve been using waste wood chips so far and will test miscanthus grass (pellets) next," Trojniak said.
"Everything is working and there are already two other companies that are interested in having similar systems designed."
The biomass gasification unit at Mor Gro"s 50-acre greenhouse operation was conceived by Green Grorganics Inc., a company founded by Marisa Pereira, wife of Mor Gro"s sales manager Dave Pereira and daughter of Mor Gro owner John Moauro.
Marisa Pereira worked with Bijendra Heavy Electricals Ltd., Meerut, India, to design and build the biomass gasification unit for the greenhouse that is home to the Smarty Brand label.
The unit is unique to Mor Gro"s operation, but Green Grorganics Inc. has distribution rights with Bijendra to market similar systems in North America.
The systems use a burning process that reaches almost 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit to turn pellets made of waste materials including everything from wood chips to used tires into a combustible gas that is used to heat the greenhouse via boilers.
Trojniak said they plan to add a generator to the system so the gasification unit can be used to create electricity.
He said a byproduct of the gasification process is carbon dioxide, which will be pumped back into the greenhouse to benefit the growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
The high temperature of the gasification process refines and destroys corrosive ash elements such as chloride and potassium, making it a cleaner option than traditional boiler systems.