A partnership between UBC, Nexterra Systems and General Electric (GE), the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility is a $27-million project that uses new technology to create heat and electricity from clean, woody biomass such as wood chips and the “leftovers” from wood manufacturing plants. Built with major funding support from the Canadian and British Columbia governments, it is the first power plant of its kind in the world.

BRDF will generate enough clean electricity to power 1,500 homes and will supply up to 12 percent of UBC’s heat requirements. It will reduce the University’s natural gas consumption by 12 per cent and campus greenhouse gas emissions by 9 per cent, the equivalent of taking a thousand cars off the road.

The BRDF has another groundbreaking feature: the walls, partitions, floors and roof decks of the power plant are made from cross-laminated timber or CLT, a value-added wood product. Being wood, the CLT panels have a low carbon footprint, and they are sourced from a renewable resource. The CLT panels used in BRDF are comprised of 90% pine beetle kill wood, which adds to the sustainability of the project.

The Infrastructure 100 Awards identify outstanding efforts in urban infrastructure in cities around the world. They are administered by the Swiss-based company KPMG International. The prestigious international award brings BRDF to the attention of people outside of industry, and shares the project’s cutting-edge technology with industry peers.

The BRDF is part of UBC’s Living Lab initiative, which brings together researchers, students, staff and residents with industry, government and NGO partners to develop innovative and sustainable solutions and products.

“It is extremely gratifying to receive global recognition for the unique technology being demonstrated at the UBC bioenergy facility and for the leadership role the University is playing” said Brent Sauder, Director, Strategic Partnerships. “These innovations, in building and energy technologies, make this a win-win project for the local, national and international communities.”

This honour is shared with other innovative projects from around the world, all of which are featured in Infrastructure 100: World Class Edition. They include the Brixton Solar One project, Exelon City Solar, Chennai Solar Economic Zone, Durban Waste to Energy, Empresas Transoceanica, the Cidade Inteligente Búzios project, Jeju Smart Grid Test Bed, the Hyllie District Smart Grid and the Princess Noura Bint AbdulRahman University Solar Heating System.

The award winners were selected by a panel of expert judges and were highlighted at the 2012 World Cities Summit in Singapore. The summit is a biennial global platform for government leaders and industry experts to address urban livability and sustainability challenges, share innovative urban projects and forge partnerships.

The Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility was officially opened in September 2012.