Science & Technology

Ontario’s Electricity Generation – Where Does Your Power Come From?

The implementation of solid biomass to produce electric power can be achieved with different methods. The environmental impact can be diminished considerably, and since Canada has a high availability of biomass, sustainable power generation system can be developed using this renewable source. The energy production in Ontario has been based on nuclear power. As a result, “nuclear power meets more than 60 percent of Ontario’s electricity needs” as shown in Table 1. Using uranium as a primary source to produce electricity in an efficient way maintains greenhouse emissions relatively low. However, uranium is a radioactive non-renewable resource that can produce significant industry hazards such as health repercussions, and nuclear waste needs to be transported and stored “High-level wastes remain deadly for up to 10,000 years” representing high maintenance budgets and affecting to the environmental degradation.

The solution proposed relies on the implementation of solid biomass waste for energy production and restructuration of nuclear power plants in Ontario Power Generation. Forest residues comprise the majority of biomass available in Canada. Biomass is defined as a sustainable source that requires considerable amounts for power generation regulating the organic waste present in the environment, and the carbon neutrality of bioenergy production systems allows for the significant mitigation of the carbon footprint. The generation of bioenergy using biomass, agricultural and forestry waste specifically, depends on the type of biological waste using different physical and chemical processes to obtain biofuels at low cost rates. The most effective methods are pyrolysis and gasification. Pyrolysis consists of the exposure of biomass to high temperatures in a close system without oxidizers to obtain liquid biofuels. Gasification comprises the thermal degradation of biomass using air and oxygen to produce gas biofuels.

As a result, the energy production in Ontario will not rely only on nuclear power which has limited Uranium sources but also will give the aperture to develop a new ecological system that produces clean energy and helps to reduce the environmental problems.

There are several renewable sources such as biomass, hydro, wind, and solar that can be implemented to develop sustainable bioenergy production systems in different countries. Nonetheless, this research is focused on biomass as the primary source for electricity generation because Ontario has great availability of agricultural and woody waste, but this province has not developed a sustainable power system based on biomass. Hydro and wind bioenergy systems have been established in Ontario, for this reason, it would not be useful to research topics that are already developed.  Analysis of the solid biomass availability and the required processes to produce biofuels will offer Ontario Power Generation a better understanding of the bioenergy efficiency and reliability to mitigate nuclear energy production.

Several effects are caused by the overuse of nuclear power in Ontario. One effect is the reliability of the energy generation system. The extraction of uranium resource will affect the availability of the source for the generation of electricity since it is a non-renewable resource and the disposal of uranium is limited. Moreover, according to Ontario Power Generation, uranium is eco-friendly because of the low emissions of greenhouse gases; however, affirms that Uranium produces several polluting repercussions to the environment due to its radioactive composition and high-level waste storage. Another impact is the overconsumption of electricity in Ontario since the subsidy provided by the government encourages individuals to waste significant amounts of energy. For example, according to Atomic energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is a financial basket case that has received $17.5 billion in subsidies already.

In conclusion, more research is needed in order to develop a sustainable power generation system based on biomass, which is a renewable source, in Ontario since the environmental impact generated by nuclear power production can be diminished considerably, and Canada has a high availability of biomass.


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