Biogas Technology: Opportunities and Challenges in Southern Alberta

March 9, 2006 :: Thane Hurlburt and Stefan Michalski
Moderated by Cheryl Bradley

Biogas, like solar and wind, has the potential to provide a significant sustainable energy source for southern Albertans. Livestock manure and organic resources from agriculture and food processing, plentiful in the Lethbridge region, can be used to produce biogas which is then used to generate electricity. Biogas systems have a proven track record in Germany and Denmark as well as locally in the City of Lethbridge waste water treatment plant.

Proponents of biogas plants in southern Alberta face significant challenges in obtaining the required government approvals needed to proceed. Environmental regulators are striving to understand the technology and the rules that should apply. Residents have concerns about effects on enjoyment of property that must be addressed. Obtaining access to the provincial energy grid is a complex process.

What are the costs and benefits of generating electricity from biogas compared to other forms of sustainable energy? Can the challenges for proponents of biogas plants be overcome? Should southern Albertans seize the opportunity for new energy generation using biogas?

Speakers: Thane Hurlburt and Stefan Michalski, ECB Enviro North America Inc.

Thane Hurlburt is president of ECB Enviro North America Inc., a southern Alberta company focusing on development of integrated waste management systems. Thane was born in Lethbridge and currently lives in Fort Macleod. He has deep roots in the agricultural community. Building on his past business success, Thane has been working on a proposal for a biogas plant/cogeneration facility near Lethbridge since 2001.

Stefan Michalski is an industrial engineer from Germany and has specialized in project management of biogas and biodiesel plants in Europe and Asia for the past 15 years. Since moving to southern Alberta he has applied his well-respected knowledge and experience towards developing bioenergy in Canada.

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