Minister Fitzgibbon in Rivière-du-Loup for an announcement regarding the biomethanization plant

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, is in Rivière-du-Loup on Wednesday to make an announcement about the Cacouna biomethanization plant. SÉMER, a mixed-economy company in the field of renewable energy, may soon receive approval for its request for subsidies for the purchase of new equipment necessary for the profitability of the plant, which opened in 2015.

according to their leaders SOW, this new equipment will allow to liquefy the natural gas produced since the opening of the plant from organic substances. For this, the gas temperature should be reduced to -150°C.. This last step before selling the gas to Énergir has not yet been successful, particularly due to equipment breakdowns. Currently, methane produced at the Rivière-du-Loup biomethanation plant is burned.

The biomethanization plant is located in Cacouna but is operated by SÉMER from Rivière-du-Loup. (file image)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Francois Gagnon

Despite the numerous problems encountered in recent years, Jacques Minville, a former municipal councilor of the city of Rivière-du-Loup and a former member of the plant’s board of directors, still believes in the project. He admits in the same breath that the plant in Kakuuna town area has been a testing ground for other biomethanation plants in the state.

On paper, all the equipment was available, but it was necessary to coordinate the various stages during the commissioning of the factory to finally produce. LNG. And it had never been done in Quebec. »

quote from Jacques Minville, former municipal councilor of Rivière-du-Loup
Jacques Minville.

Jacques Minville, former municipal councilor of Riviere-du-Loup, sat on the board of directors of the biogas plant in its early years. (file image)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jérôme Lévesque-Boucher

This liquefaction is necessary for the transport of gas in the Énergir network, which, for example, does not need to be done because the other plants installed in Levis, Varennes and Saint-Hyacinthe are built near the company’s pipelines. However, this option is not possible in Bas-Saint-Laurent as the Energir pipelines stop at Lévis.

A flare burns methane produced in a biomethanation plant.

Currently, methane produced at the Rivière-du-Loup biomethanation plant is burned.

Photo: Radio-Canada

find the yield

The project has been repeatedly criticized for its economic efficiency. And Jacques Minville continues to believe it. He assures that even if the factory does not make a profit, there is no longer a deficit.

In recent years, the way the prices paid by cities to manage compostable materials are calculated has been changed, allowing for increased revenue while waiting to sell LNG to Energir.

In the beginning, we were calculated by tonnage, and we realized that tonnage does not work at the municipal level. We went there with a fixed fee for each resident and we kept increasing therehe explains.

The plant’s future now depends on its ability to liquefy the natural gas it produces on site. Therefore, Minister Fitzgibbon’s statement is of great importance for the sustainability of the project.

History of the project

  • 2008: One mandate is granted MRC de Rivière-du-Loup, contact Co-Éco to determine the best way to divert organic matter from an engineering waste landfill. Biomethanation, composting and incineration are options under consideration.
  • 2009: Creation of a mixed economy company in the field of renewable energy by the city of Rivière-du-Loup, Rivière-du-Loup MRC and Terix Envirogaz.
  • 2010: Announcement of funding for the construction of a plant by Stephen Harper and Jean Charest in Rivière-du-Loup.
  • 2014: Start of construction of biomethanation plant.
  • 2015: Opening of the factory. Its directors envisage a 3-year operational period before officially starting production of liquefied natural gas.
  • March 2019: The SOW announces that it is abandoning production of liquefied natural gas to focus on compressed natural gas.
  • September 2021: The SOW they reconsidered their decision and revived the idea of ​​liquefied natural gas production. The Quebec government is being asked for $3 million in financial assistance. Purpose: to purchase new equipment needed for liquefaction.
  • February 2022: Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon calls for a review before deciding whether to agree to refinance SÉMER.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *