As one of the largest power companies in North America, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) produces more than half of the power used in homes, schools, hospitals and businesses in Ontario.
In accordance with the Shareholder Declaration to cease the use of coal by the end of 2014, OPG proceeded with a project to convert their 205 MW coal-fired generating station in Atikokan, Ontario, to 100% wood pellets.
Part of the project included the construction of a new wood pellet handling system, which includes a truck unloading facility, two 5,000 t pellet storage silos, and metering and conveying systems to the boiler.
Ausenco provided the conceptual and detailed engineering services for the EPC contractor Aecon Industrial, including civil, structural, mechanical, piping, HVAC, electrical and controls design for the wood pellet handling system from the truck receiving area through to, and including, modifications to five existing boiler surge bins.
Asset protection systems, including dust control, fire, spark and explosion prevention, detection and suppression are of paramount importance. A unique helical / spiral chute is being used to gently lower the pellets 120 feet into the silos.
The project allows OPG continued use of a valuable asset, but in an environmentally sustainable manner by replacing coal with `green´ biomass as the fuel of choice. Doing so enables the generating station to continue to operate, and provides a stable employment base in the small community of Atikokan.
For the project, OPG received the “Ground Breaker of the Year Award” at the 2015 International Biomass Conference, and the OPG Biomass Program won the Canadian Electrical Association (CEA) Sustainable Electricity Environmental Commitment Award.