East Ladner greenhouse reduces carbon footprint

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East Ladner greenhouse reduces carbon footprint

Source: Christine Lyon - South Delta Leader

April 23, 2012

Politicians and stakeholders gathered in East Ladner on Friday (April 20) to witness a demonstration of what is being touted as the world’s first carbon capture system for the greenhouse industry.

SunSelect Produce, located at 10250 Hornby Dr., has launched a GC6 Green Carbon Capture System, designed to heat greenhouse operations while simultaneously filtering pollutant emissions, capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into fertilizer to grow fruits and vegetables.

The $5-million system was made in Canada and created by B.C.-based ProSelect Gas Treating Inc.

Reinhold Krahn, a director at both ProSelect and SunSelect, said the new technology does two important things.

“Firstly, it eliminates the emissions of harmful pollutants into the Earth’s atmosphere from combustion of wood,” he told the crowd. “Secondly, it transforms carbon capture into pure food-grade CO2 that’s used as fertilizer to fertilize our healthy plants. And it does all of this by using the planet’s unlimited supply of inexpensive and renewable biomass fuel sources like wood waste.”

He said the result is a sustainable system that reduces the carbon footprint of greenhouses.

Victor Krahn, CEO and co-founder of ProSelect, explained how the system works.

First biomass fuel, such as wood waste, is fed into a boiler. The combusted biomass heats the greenhouses. Then the carbon-laden boiler flue gas is filtered and cooled. Flue gases enter the 60-foot-tall GC6 absorber tower where a patented solvent technology strips only carbon dioxide from the gas. The stripped excess vapor is released into the atmosphere, while solvent from the buffer tank is heated and pure carbon dioxide is released to plants.

“Never before has there been a technology that can benefit the environment and the bottom line for greenhouse operators like the GC6 Carbon Capture System can,” he said. “Our goal is to help reduce our industry’s dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels while creating a sustainable legacy that supports locally grown food.”

He said the system combusts biomass and captures carbon dioxide at a rate of five tons per hour.

Until now greenhouse operators had to rely on non-renewable sources like natural gas and liquid CO2 for fertilizing crops.

ProSelect representatives say switching to the GC6 system could result in a significant reduction in fuel and energy costs. Further financial benefits could include savings on chemicals and disposal fees and access to green government grants.

Partial funding for the GC6 Carbon Capture System pilot project was provided by the provincial government’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund ($2.24 million) and the federal government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s SD Tech Fund ($1 million).

In early April, Minister of Agriculture Don McRae visited Village Farms greenhouse in Ladner to announce that B.C.’s greenhouse vegetable and flower growers will receive a one-time carbon tax relief payment. The move was intended to keep B.C. growers competitive with operations in the U.S. and Mexico.