Metro Vancouver plans to tender a contract by the second half of 2022 for the construction of a $19 million pilot plant that takes carbon-loaded sludge from sewage and converts it to bio-crude oil.
“It will be the first of its kind in the world,” said Paul Kadota, MASc, MPA, PEng., Metro Vancouver’s program manager with collaborative innovations, policy planning and analysis within its liquid waste services.
“What it takes nature to do in millions of years, we are doing in an hour,” he said.
Kadota said the project is attracting international attention since it is unique but also garnering attention from the bio-fuel sector which is looking at bio-crude from sewage as a feedstock that can be converted into gas, diesel, and jet fuels that are virtually carbon emissions free when utilized.
Kadota said Metro Vancouver have completed the front-engineering and design of the pilot plant. “The technology is being supplied by Genifuel Corporation,” said Kadota, adding that later this year, the company will begin initiating the fabrication of the equipment.
The tender will be first of a possible two contracts. Once the fabricated equipment is delivered the successful contractor will be charged with the installation of the equipment and integration of the pilot into the Annacis Island wastewater treatment facility which provides primary and secondary treatment of wastewater.
The second tender relates to the plant’s operation which is expected to be operating by the end of 2022. “We are not sure who will operate the plant,” said Kadota, as the technology is new to Metro Vancouver employees and involves different skills sets. Instead, Metro Vancouver may ask for requests for proposal from companies interested in operating the plant for a one-year period. The operator would serve through a de-bugging phase and also help initiate Metro Vancouver staff to the new system.