UBC’s award-winning Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility is a pioneering Campus as a Living Lab project which began operation in 2012. Our facility generates renewable thermal energy from wood waste biomass (wood chips), and electricity from renewable natural gas, significantly reducing fossil fuel use on campus.

Located at our Vancouver campus, the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility processes renewable biomass sourced from urban wood waste and transforms it into synthesis gas (syngas) to generate thermal energy for heating campus buildings.

of our energy needs are provided by the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility.


Our system is carbon neutral since the amount of carbon dioxide released by the wood waste when used as fuel is the same as would be released during decomposition in a landfill, but with the benefit of producing thermal energy.

The facility produces 8.4 MW of thermal energy, accounting for 25-32% of the total campus heating and hot water needs each year. In the summer, it provides 100% of campus energy needs. It also provides 2 MW of electrical energy, the equivalent of 5% of the total campus electricity requirements each year. 

The building that houses the facility features an innovative mass timber structure, consisting of cross laminated timber (CLT) floor, walls and roof, and glue laminated (glulam) columns and beams attached through steel connectors.


Plans to increase the capacity of the existing Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility system are underway, and we expect to complete the project by 2021. 

Increasing capacity will help UBC advance towards our Climate Action Plan 2020 target of a 67% GHG emissions reduction compared to 2007 levels, and provide continued research opportunities for faculty and students. 

Find out more about UBC’s Energy and Water Services management of the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility.