Opportunities for and impacts of community-scale biomass and waste heat district energy systems in Canada

Solid biomass, of which Canada has plenty, is the lowest cost, and greatest employment generating, renewable heat source available but to date but is not often considered as a low carbon heating option for deployment on a large scale in Canadian cities. For solid biomass to reach a high market share, a key enabling infrastructure is required: district energy systems (DES). While there are existing DES in Canada, they provide less than 2% of all building heat in the country. There is a significant opportunity to develop biomass heating systems in Canadian communities as a low carbon heating solution, however the development of DES infrastructure in existing communities if often viewed as cost prohibitive, and biomass energy in general is not always viewed in a positive light by the public. To address these issues, this project will identify opportunities for biomass DES in Canadian communities and evaluate the economic feasibility as well as the regional social, economic and environmental impacts associated with the development of (community-wide) biomass DES in at least two urban Canadian communities (one using forest biomass, one using agricultural residues).

Faculty Supervisor:

Michelle Adams


Jean Blair


TorchLight Bioresources


Environmental sciences


Professional, scientific and technical services


Dalhousie University


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