UBC’s Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF) is the first facility of its kind in North America. The system processes 2-3 truckloads of renewable biomass—ground and chipped waste wood from sawmill residuals, municipal trimmings, land clearing operations, and UBC’s Malcolm Knapp Research Forest. The gasification process uses the waste wood to produce a synthetic gas, which is combusted to generate hot water for heating our buildings.
The system reduces UBC’s reliance on fossil fuels and eliminates 14% of campus greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, a 2MW cogeneration engine uses Renewable Natural Gas to generate over 5% of the power for our electrical grid, while the waste heat is similarly used for heating our buildings.
While the facility has been in operation since 2012, the BRDF continues to receive attention as a Campus as a Living Laboratory project, integrating UBC’s core academic mandate of research and teaching with our district infrastructure and business operations. From hydrogen and fuel cell research to community scale heat and power systems, there are many unique research opportunities underway at the BRDF.