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Quebec greenhouse project involves biomass

May 7, 2012  By Treena Hein

Project manager John Gobeil has been involved in several greenhouse biomass conversions. Last year, he advised Quebec's most important propagator, Sylvain Lefort, in an $ 8-million project to heat 6.5 hectares of greenhouses using two 6-megawatt boilers.

The final report on an innovative greenhouse project in Quebec is in – a project that involves a wood biomass heating system at a 12-greenhouse farm north of Drummondville.

Three years ago, the Syndicat des producteurs en serre du Québec (the provincial greenhouse growers’ union) chose ‘Les Serres Verrier’ farm in Saint-Joachim-de-Courval for the installation of the heating system.

At ‘Les Serres Verrier,’ Luc Verrier grows tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce year-round in 12 greenhouses (totalling 2500 m2), and sells his harvest to local supermarkets.


The biomass heating project is part of Vitrine biomasse (Biomass Showcase), an initiative with the goal of documenting and evaluating a demonstration wood biomass farm-heating system.

Vitrine biomasse is a partnership that involves the Syndicat des producteurs en serre, the Quebec ministry of Agriculture (MAPAQ), the Bureau de l’efficacité et de l’innovation énergétiques (the provincial energy efficiency agency), the Centre d’information et de développement expérimental en serriculture (a greenhouse research centre), grower Luc Verrier and forestry engineering firm Jean Gobeil & Associés Inc.
Forestry engineer Jean Gobeil managed the project.

The project’s 550 kW boiler is from Quebec manufacturer Transfab Énergie. It can burn wood chips with up to 35 % humidity. Being able to use wet biomass in such a small system is one of the two innovative features of this project. The other is the planting of 20 hectares of fast-growing willows, in an effort to be ‘biomass self-sufficient.’

The first harvest of the fast-growing willows will occur this coming fall, but the Vitrine biomasse is already providing useful insight for other growers.

Find out about lessons learned – as well as reflections on the current state of biomass use in Quebec’s greenhouse industry from Gobeil and Verrier – in an upcoming article by Andre Dumont in Canadian Biomass Magazine, and here at Energy Edge.






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