Lab Canada

Animal manure generates new source of energy

Edmonton, AB November 24, 2003 New technology announced by Highmark Renewables, Alberta Research Council (ARC) and the Government of Canada will turn manure into energy, bio-based fertilizers and reusable water, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.

The technology, known as the integrated manure utilization system (IMUS), has received $7.9 million in funding from provincial and federal governments, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Investment Fund, and industry. IMUS is designed to overcome the challenges associated with high-solid manure typical of most outdoor feedlots in North America. The adaptability of this technology to other biomass sources, including liquid manure, food processing waste and municipal wastes, makes this a significant development in the field of renewable resource technologies.

This initiative has spawned the construction of a pilot-scale IMUS plant at Highland Feeders in Vegreville, which will produce one megawatt (one million watts) of electricity from the manure of 7,500 head of cattle. It is scheduled for completion in June 2004. Scaling up the pilot and demonstration plant will produce up to three megawatts of electricity enough power to supply a town of over 5,000 people.

“Although we have never thought of manure as waste, the ability to treat it as a renewable resource will add value to livestock operations and provide our industry with new opportunities for diversification,” says Mike Kotelko, president of Highmark Renewables.

“The IMUS project is a clear example of how science and innovation can be used to bolster environmental sustainability,” says Dr Carlos M Monreal, environment and energy specialist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, speaking on behalf of the Government of Canada. “Moreover, it demonstrates how working together can provide solutions that benefit us all, and how partnership plays a key part in helping us reach our climate change goals.”

Other partners in the multi-million dollar project include Sustainable Development Technology Canada (subject to contract negotiations), Climate Change Action Fund-Technology Early Action Measures (TEAM), Energy Co-generation from Agricultural and Municipal Wastes, Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program for Canadian Agriculture, Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, and Climate Change Central.