By: Rubina Obaid
Flax straws are known to be an important commodity for obtaining valuable chemicals and biofuels through the process of liquefaction in sub-critical water. Even though Oil content is not high in flax straw but it contains an essential type of feedstock that fits well with the technology and works as a building block of carbon-based fuel.
To become climate neutral communities are unleashing limitless sustainable energy sources and accelerating the global transition towards renewable energy alternatives. The objective is to stimulate the economic recovery from carbon footprints. Fight against climate change and the commitment to fulfill international climate neutrality goals are the clear guidelines for developing global policies. Paris agreement for climate neutrality was the turning point and created new challenges and targets for the countries to implement effective transition.
Thus, Countries nowadays are having substantial interest in the application of biomass as a source of renewable energy. Flax straws are known to be an important commodity for obtaining valuable chemicals and biofuels through the process of liquefaction in sub-critical water. Even though Oil content is not high in flax straw but it contains an essential type of feedstock that fits well with the technology and works as a building block of carbon-based fuel. Flax straws are chopped into six-millimeter pieces for the process. The technology breaks down biomass material, and by using a steady flow of sand which is heated to 450 C, and then the chopped straws are driven into the cyclone of sand. The process is called pyrolysis
A Regina-based company Prairie Clean Energy uses a proprietary processing technology to turn flax straw into a product that is used for energy generation. Chief executive officer of Prairie, Mark Cooper says that “We know how effective a fuel flax straw is and we know that it’s usually wasted, so the question was; what can we do with the straw and what opportunities are there to create new revenue streams for producers and new markets for flax straw, which right now doesn’t have any real use. One of the most common products that is currently burned in biomass (energy production) is wood fiber and flax straw is a very close facsimile.”
Cooper and his business partners, Trevor Thomas and David Whitrow find an amazing future in flax-based biomass fuel. “There are more than 4000 biomass power plants in the world right now and they can’t find the fuel they need to meet the demand” added Cooper. Thus, they are going out all over the world for the sake of innovative and viable energy sources. According to the latest research, each acre of Flax grown in the Canadian Prairies produces around 0.65 tonnes of straw. That enables around 700,000 tonnes of annual flax straw supply from Western Canada. This is the first time Flaw straw has been used by the biomass energy producers as a source of biomass fuel. Therefore, Prairie Clean Energy’s priority is to get sufficient supplies of the alternative fuel source into the hands of potential users for the purpose of testing and assessment. The company estimated that total flax straw supplies required by the company would not expand more than 30,000 tonnes. Processing straw includes shredding, drying, compressing, repackaging, and delivering to the end-users. Company’s sale would also include potential domestic buyers as well.