Hot on the heels of our previous post on GEI’s advertorial that appeared recently, we received an e-mail-up from a reader who took part in the “Doors Open” tour of the Biodigester and has been following this project closely.
Needless to say, some of the points raised are very thought provoking, but as a disclaimer… these are the independent opinions of the reader and not this site.
Here is his e-mail to us (and you):
I read with great interest your post on the Grimsby Energy Inc. ‘Thank you’ advertisement regards the recent Biodigester tours. Unfortunately. there are a number of factually incorrect and misleading statements made – and these need to be clarified:
- The ad states: “The eco-friendly process reduces air pollution and organic waste odours”. This is not so. Copious amounts of CO2 gas is vented to our atmosphere from both the digestion process and from the burning methane exhaust from the engine along with hydrogen sulphide, ammonia, SO2s, NOXs, and so forth. These are the well noted polluting gases that contribute to global warming and the release of which is contrary to Canada’s commitment to reduce these gases. These exhausts will be taxed by Ontario’s ‘Cap and Trade’ program which aims to fight climate change and tax those contributing to it.
- Further the ad states:“The amount of carbon dioxide produced when using biogas is equal to the amount needed for plants to grow. This in a way, balances the car-biogas is equal to the amount needed fro plants to grow”. This is not so. All plants need Oxygen and Nitrogen to grow – very little carbon dioxide is needed. The current amount of CO2 gas in our atmosphere (less than 1%) is quite sufficient and we exhaust more of it than can be used.
- Indeed as stated: “methane is one of the most potent” gases polluting our atmosphere”. It remains on the ground much longer than CO2 and is considered a toxic explosive, as proved at the recent Flamborough and Owen Sound biodigester fires and explosions. There is always some methane leakage at all biodigesters, as we were cautioned about on our tour.
- Four of our members on our tour left less than half way through as they couldn’t take the stench.
- While the larger issue of eco-friendly waste management needs to be dealt with, one obvious approach would be to encourage the natural aerobic composting of silage and organic wastes. This is the lower temperature process that we use in our backyard compost heaps, and at the Grimsby recycling dump where they produce large amounts of quality compost, freely available to Grimsby residents every Spring. Yes, it takes a year or more to produce in our climate but with low temperature enzymes and proper aeration, it produces very little methane and CO2.
- This project was promoted as costing $3.5 million – it has now cost Grimsby taxpayers over $10 million as we own 100% of the shares of GEI and its holding companies. It is almost 2 years overdue, and has permanently lost 2 years of F.I.T. (feed-in tariff) subsidies which were the main reason for building it in the first place.
- The project was led by 2 self-appointed project leaders, neither of them Engineers, and neither had similar project management experience.
- The power output was purported to ‘light up the town.’ As it currently requires a secondary feeder and feed auger to produce enough methane and pressure to drive the engine/generator to 1 MW/h, it can’t produce even half of that power at this point. Consider that a single wind vane produces more power than this $10 million facility – power which our province and community currently doesn’t need.
- The Sobie Road facility is large enough to support a 1MW/h solar panel farm that could be built and maintained for a fraction of this cost. The new generation of panels and the more efficient storage batteries make these viable even on cloudy and/or freezing days. Read about Elon Musk’s Australia project.
- The brochure that was handed out on the tour says “it will produce a net profit of $7.6 million.” Nothing could be further from the truth – considering the capital, construction, interest and operating costs, it will lose more than that amount.
We, the Grimsby taxpayers and our children who chose to live here now and in the future, will pay for this costly fiasco.