Grow the Energy Circle Ltd (GrowTEC) is a multi-faceted bioenergy venture by the Perry Family Farm that is a model of sustainable industry and innovative synergy. Growtec’s goal is the creation of a “first of its kind” diverse agricultural / renewable energy industry cluster. This cluster would include leading edge technology companies with the ability to manufacture biofuels, bio-based chemicals/materials, and environmentally friendly fertilizers, as well as ICT services. Primarily a biogas power generation facility, Phase 1 of Growtec’s vision focuses on the conversion of waste to clean energy, while Phase 2 explores future industrial integration and synergistic development. The Growtec initiative demonstrates leadership for long term sustainable wealth creation and investment in Alberta’s future at a very replicable scale that can be distributed across the agricultural industry.
Brothers Chris and Harold Perry run the Perry Family Farm located near Chin, Alberta. The Perry family has a history of innovation and stewardship that spans four generations of southern Alberta farming. Today the Farms is a diverse operation comprising 5,000 acres of irrigated land producing quality potatoes, green peas, seed canola, and a range of cereals for clients such as Frito Lay, McCain, Bonduel and Hytech. Perry Farms is a model of responsible environmental stewardship, applying recognized best practises and using cutting edge technology, in its operations. GrowTEC is the latest initiative of this entrepreneurial family.
Phase 1 - Biogas / Renewable Energy Production Plant – Commissioned Nov 2014
GrowTEC’s Biogas plant converts large volumes of manure and organic waste into three value added by-products: biogas (~60% methane), heat and nutrient-rich / pathogen free soil amendments. Presently the biogas produced by the facility is converted into 100%, 24/7 renewable electricity and sold into the Alberta Electricity grid through AESO.
Value Adding Organic Waste as Feedstock– GrowTEC diverts over 12,000 MT of manure from direct land spreading and over 6000MT of other organic waste from landfill or land application each year. This is basically stealing the methane form the organics and leaving the nutrients for fertilizer.
Sale of Electrical Power– GrowTEC powers a 633KW/hr combined heat and power (CHP) unit that generates over 4000 MWhrs per year of electricity from organic waste each year since 2016.
Digestate Production and Sale – Digestate is to anaerobic digestion the same as compost is to aerobic digestion. Perry Farms applies the digestate back to Perry Farms and market the product to other local crop producers.
Sales of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Credits – GrowTEC creates over 4,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent offsets for sale annually.
The innovative GrowTEC Perry Farm biogas facility demonstrates leadership in sustainable agricultural and industrial technologies, integrating agriculture and renewable, distributed energy.
Organic waste processed ~ 20,000 tonnes /yr
Renewable Power generated > 4000 MWhr/yr
Organic Fertilizer produced ~18,000 tonnes /yr
CO2 e credits > 4000 tonnes/yr
Growtec’s longer term business strategy integrates local businesses and municipalities to generate a new, exciting, and diverse business cluster in the region. The following areas for development have been identified and are being pursued.
Sale of Direct Power to ICT Industry – The sale of renewable power directly to a local consumer (rather than through AESO and wholesalers) would be an improved and more efficient operational/business model for Growtec.
The power supply from Growtec’s plant would be ideal for a data center operator interested in a renewably powered IT plan. Growtec will have redundancy in power and redundant fiber optic accessibility (capitalizing on the under-utilized Alberta Supernet). Growtec therefore is an ideal location for a data center or similar super-computing management center.
Growtec is collaborating with Ventus Development Services. (http://www.ventus.ca). Ventus is interested in building an integrated approach to rural development that incorporates information and communications and PICTURE – Putting I.C.T. to Use in Rural Economics.
GrowTEC is collaborating with Sunrise Ag. (http://www.sunrise-ag.ca) of Taber Alberta on a Data Driven Agriculture.