Pinnnacle Renewable Resources is making operational a new $5 million scrubber system that will improve air quality in the Burns Lake area.
The wet electrostatic precipitators (WESP) scrubber will replace a $4.5 million wet scrubber that has been in place for several years, but has failed to meet Ministry of Environment stack emission tests. The new technology operates by introducing a magnetic charge to emission particles which then adhere to pipe walls within the large unit, while the existing scrubber operates by creating a mist intended to trap emission particles in water droplets before they are released into the atmosphere. Pinnacle president and CEO Leroy Reitsma said the WESP scrubber has been proven effective in the company's Meadowbrook facility, located 70 kilometres south of Prince George.
"At the time we acquired the equipment, there were two technologies proposed so we put one at Meadowbrook and one at Burns Lake. The one at Meadowbrook has met expectations while the one at Burns Lake had not, so we knew one was working and the other simply wasn't," he said.
"We have just decided to go with a different technology for Burns Lake that we are more confident in."
The new scrubber was given an initial test on April 2. Reitsma expects commissioning to take place this quarter, with the system being fully operational in June.
"It's part of our commitment to this community... to make the additional investment to make sure that we'll meet all the targets we need to meet," Reitsma said
The pellet plant in Burns Lake is the largest producer of Pinnacle's six plant locations in B.C., capable of producing 400,000 metric tonnes of product annually (mt/a). Other Pinnacle pellet plants nearest to capacity to Burns Lake are Meadowbrook, Houston and Williams Lake, which all operate in the 220,000 mt/a range.
Overall, Pinnacle operations have meant the closure of 12 beehive burners in B.C.