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Banff to explore cogeneration opportunity at wastewater treatment plant

Banff council approved spending an additional $15,000 this year for an engineering analysis to explore the idea of installing a cogeneration unit at the municipality's wastewater treatment plant
Banff Town Hall 2
Banff Town Hall

BANFF – The Town of Banff will spend $15,000 on an engineering analysis to explore the idea of installing a cogeneration unit at the municipality's wastewater treatment plant.

Council approved the one-time expense March 9 for the analysis as part of the already approved project to replace three 30-year-old natural gas boilers at the facility.

Environment and sustainability manager Michael Hay said the expectation is that only two modern high-efficiency boilers would be needed, leaving space within the wastewater treatment plant to consider a cogeneration unit.

"Given that the nature of the project is to provide modern efficient heating for the wastewater treatment plant, this is an ideal opportunity to begin to talk about the possibility of a cogeneration unit," Hay said. 

The municipality has already begun to study the design for the required modifications and upgrades, equipment and cost estimates to replace the boilers – at a cost of $50,000 to $60,000. 

With the additional $15,000 approved by council from the environmental reserve, Hay said the study will be expanded to explore installing a natural gas cogeneration unit. He said the unit could significantly reduce the plant's overall greenhouse gas emissions and electricity costs. 

A cogeneration unit combines the production of electricity from a natural gas powered generator with heat for the building – Hay said it can be up to 90 per cent more efficient than using electricity from the grid. 

He added the capital cost – if approved as part of the final design of the project – could be between $100,000 and $700,000.

Council was excited by the possible efficiencies that could be provided. 

"I commend the person who thought of this opportunity," said Councillor Chip Olver. 



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Tanya Foubert

About the Author: Tanya Foubert

Tanya Foubert started as a news reporter at the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2006. She won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best news story for her coverage of the 2013 flood. In December 2018, she became editor of the Outlook.
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