Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Peat for Energy in Labrador: Initial Jobs potential

 When looking at the inaugural operations of the pilot Peat operation, we need to pin down the most likely economic model for start up. Ideally in a perfect world, a co-generation plant providing steam for making peat products and electricity to power the plant and local community would be the ultimate goal. However that will be the target of initial operations after proving the concept via a mobile processing system.

  One of the limiting economic factors of peat as an energy source is it's high water content level. Which makes distance to market or end use a key concern. Also pivot-able is preserving the peat deposit with as little damage as possible. These factors dictate as little road development as possible and keeping de-watering in close proximity to the target deposit. This applies to the marketable peat product sold for home energy , horticultural and filter media use. Paradoxically it turns out solid media co-gen plants actually work better with higher water content. But for pilot purposes, we will stick to "near bog" processing of the peat for maximum economic benefit.

  By going with a "near bog" processing site, we have a higher density fuel product available, meaning we gain more money per pound or kilo of product moved. We also greatly lower fuel requirements for machinery harvesting and moving the product. This is partially offset by powering the mobile processing station. It may or may not be feasible to derive the power from a wet peat fueled boiler/generator station. However this may be cost prohibitive at start up. But has it's attractions. Alternatively it could be powered by diesel generators. Something I would prefer to avoid.

 Additionally you have the mobile processing station itself. This would be a system mounted on trailers which will do a number of chores. There would be a dump pan/sorter that feeds presses. The presses themselves. Conveyors to move treated product to a filling or bagging area. For enviromental purposes, some other things are needed. An area to treat pressed water(done by peat itself), a clean up team using very small dozer like machines, and an operation to move and place matts and cut top sod to preserve the bog.

 This will give some basic idea of the scope involved.

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