Railroad tie gasification plant considered for Brooks
SANDRA M STANWAY
Brooks mayor Barry Morishita told Alberta CARE (Coordinated Action for Recycling Enterprises) spring conference attendees a railroad tie gasification for usable energy project is being considered in the region.
The gasification system, explained by CP Rail in a 2007 release, creates combustible gas that is used to operate an electrical generator which feeds electrical power into existing power transmission grids.
“Compared to conventional burning methods, the plant is designed to gasify any biomass waste products and through the process create usable energy, while, at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the release states.
He said plans for the project started over two years ago when he received a letter from CP Rail stating they were going to stockpile 60,000 rail ties in Brooks.
“The rail ties have to be audited through a system. Every tie has a number and every tie has to be proved that they’ve been destroyed,” he said.
“It’s quite fascinating.”
Rail ties, which are steeped in chemicals including creosote, are no longer allowed to be landfilled.
A Globe and Mail article from March 2017 reported there were concerns by residents in British Columbia where a company planned to burn the creosote-soaked ties inside the Kamloops city limits.
The residents who opposed the project wanted an air-pollution emission permit from the province.
The research scientist who developed the technology told the Globe and Mail “The proposed Kamloops plant, which is a demonstration site for the technology, would minimize the discharge of waste such as ash by feeding it back into the combustion process.”
It’s unclear if the plant opened. During the early stages of 2007-2009 council and community members had opposed the project because of the creosote.
Morishita did not say when the process may begin or where it will be constructed, however, it is believed that it will be announced over the next six months.