The need for biomass fuel has been steadily climbing over the past few years. In the past coal was used for factories before moving over to biomass fuel which used wood in order to better protect the environment. However, while wood may be renewable it takes years for a tree to grow. But Prairie Clean Energy is pitching a new idea to farmers during a town hall meeting taking place tonight.
"It's a carbon-neutral fuel that is better for the environment and burns cleaner and is more efficient than most fuel sources," said Mark Cooper, the president of Prairie Clean Energy. "Wood fuel is not very sustainable. You have to cut down forests or find scrap wood. All those challenges. Turns out on the prairies, specifically in Saskatchewan, we grow a fuel even better than wood. And that's flax straw."
Flax straw is often burned at the end of harvest as there is no current use for it. Cooper says they can purchase the flax straw from farmers and convert it into biomass fuel that they can then work to sell to factories that can use it.
Cooper says there are around 4000 plants that require biomass fuel in the world right now, and this number is expected to grow around 60% in the coming years. A majority of these plants are located in Europe and Asia, however, North America has some as well.
"They need cleaner sources of energy and biomass is one of the best options out there," Cooper added. "So why not take advantage of fuel sources as we have right here in Saskatchewan to make the world a greener place."
The flax straw would be purchased from farmers, converted into biomass fuel, and sold to factories that need them. This provides farmers with additional income while boosting the economy, says Cooper.
There will be a presentation in Weyburn tonight where farmers will be able to listen in and discuss what is being proposed by the company.
You can sign up here.