Fuel prices going through the roof? Use grass… or so thinks Orville Pulsifer of Grapell Bioenergy Ltd., a Truro, NS company, looking to help launch a grass fuel pellet industry in Atlantic Canada.
Pulsifer and a small group of startups claim grass pellets can fuel more than just your pet rabbit. By using processed hay and grass from underutilized fields in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the group claim they may be able to heat as many as 40,000 homes; working out to ~1 home per hectare of grass.
“It’s a chicken and egg situation,” says Pulsifer, “There aren’t enough (furnaces) in operation to create a market at this time”. Like any new technology, getting supply and creating demand are difficult. Consumers need to be convinced the technology is viable long-term, while a steady supply of pellets and inexpensive furnaces are imperative to the technology’s success.
Sobenco Engineering of PEI are close to figuring out how to mass produce an adequate supply of pellets, while LST Energy of Pictou, NS, are working on furnaces to efficiently burn them. The consortium is asking for government help to see the project lift off, Pulsifer explaining that, “These days, if government is not involved, the banks won’t get involved.”
Nancy Rondeaux of Nova Scotia’s Energy Department stated that Nova Scotia is “interested in the possibilities” of grass fuel, perhaps converting a government building to grass power as a show of feasibility.
What do you think? Will grass power take off?