At the beginning of 2019, Lakson began studying a project to convert the heating systems of homes (and potentially other residential and commercial buildings) in the far north of Canada, particularly those of the Wemindji municipality in Quebec, to the use of forestry biomass, a product that is widely available in Canada and in the region of Wemindji.
The aim of the project is to replace the existing heating systems that use heavy oil, incidentally eliminating the negative environmental, safety and health impacts that they cause, such as, air pollution and contribution to climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions during the oil’s extraction, transportation and combustion, and the contamination of soil, groundwater and even house foundations, due to oil leaks.
Before launching a full-scale conversion of residential heating systems in Wemindji, Lakson conducted a feasibility study. This study began with a visit to Wemindji, in March 2019, to collect key data necessary to evaluate the project’s feasibility. It also included the visit of different manufacturers of biomass heaters, as well as the preliminary evaluation of biomass resourcing options and the preliminary design of a biomass distribution system, among many activities. The feasibility study, which was completed in April, demonstrated that the project has great potential in terms of environmental benefits, as well as savings for the community.
The next step for this project, which is to be performed shortly, is the implementation of Lakson’s pilot biomass heater in one of the houses that were visited. For this, Lakson will send a team to Wemindji to install the unit, start it up and train the occupants to use it. This team will compile data during the start-up to incorporate in the final report, which will then be produced to analyze the pilot unit and draw conclusions on its functioning and potential. Furthermore, this will help validate or infirm the conclusions from the feasibility study and it will help formulate recommendations on the potential of fully developing this type of project at a large scale in Wemindji and formulate the next steps to be taken in order to bring this project to fruition.