A Ladner greenhouse was the site of the official launch Friday of what's being described as a revolutionary new clean heating and emissions reuse system.
Jobs and Innovation Minister Pat Bell, Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington and others were on hand for a ceremony at SunSelect Produce for the unveiling of the ProSelect GC6 carbon capture system.
The first of its kind in the world to be used in a commercial operation, the state-of-the-art GC6 captures carbon dioxide (C02) emissions from wood waste, currently used to heat the greenhouse, then converts it to an essential CO2 to fertilize the vegetables grown at the operation. It results in a clean burning heating system for the business that also no longer needs to purchase CO2 to grow its crops.
Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony, Victor Krahn, CEO and co-founder of ProSelect Gas Treating Inc., explained to the Optimist how the $5 million system works is that it turns harmful CO2 into a useful form.
"We burned wood for heat only. The trick is getting the CO2 out of the wood and that's the real innovation because it's normally fairly dirty. It used to be part of the emission that normally happens.
"The GC6 system burns the wood for heat but also takes the flue gases and runs then through our absorber column. Inside of that is where the magic happens. Our water-based solvent captures the CO2 out of the flue gas. So then we'll have another tank filled with solvent rich with CO2... Our other column de-absorbs it out and we reuse the solvent, and the CO2 goes into the greenhouses and the cycle continues," Krahn explained.
SunSelect Produce partnered with Dutch engineering firm Procede BV to create ProSelect, which developed the new cleaner biomass burning system.
"This is the first of its kind in the world. CO2 capture is huge industry and right now the typical CO2 captured is buried in the ground, so we have a new way of using that by growing vegetables," Krahn added.
Reihnhold Krahn, a SunSelect Produce and ProSelect director, told the audience the greenhouse industry is changing and this local innovation offers a completely sustainable, cost-effective and clean solution for commercial operations.
"We need to find ways to be more competitive with our competitors in the United States and Mexico where costs can be lower. We need to find new alternatives by cutting energy consumption and energy costs," he said.
"But the most important challenge is, as greenhouse growers, we must continue to do what we do best, and that's producing the highest quality, locally grown, healthy produce for our consumers right here in our backyard."
Noting carbon is being captured at a rate of over five tonnes an hour, while energy and CO2 costs have been reduced by over 50 per cent, Krahn said they're also saving money by reducing carbon tax costs. Some of the funding to help develop the technology came from the B.C. Clean Energy Fund as well as a federal grant.
Bell told the gathering at Friday's event B.C.'s greenhouse industry is introducing world-leading, cutting-edge technology. The GC6 system is an innovation that will also help address climate change issues, he said.
A ribbon cutting photo op was held in front of a structure that looks like a traditional smoke stack but is, in fact, an absorption column that filters CO2 from entering the atmosphere, emitting only water vapour.
In 2007, the B.C. government established the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020, increasing to 80 per cent by 2050.