During the first phase, the IRR feasibility study included brainstorming sessions with operators and engineering staff from the Region of Durham, as well as engineers and technical staff from WSP (including several world-wide specialists). During the brainstorming sessions, 62 IRR opportunities were identified. The solutions were divided into five categories: Biogas Production/Biosolids Utilization; Biogas Utilization; Energy Efficiency; Heat, Electricity & Water Optimization; and Nutrient Recovery. Each of these opportunities passed through an initial screening to assess their feasibility and practicality for implementation at the Courtice WPCP, resulting in 32 solutions being short-listed.
Following a technical assessment, the short-listed alternatives underwent a sustainability assessment whereby the level of economic, social and environmental benefits for each solution was evaluated and scored. Based on the sustainability assessment, the preferred alternative was determined to be process optimization, in order to increase biogas production (thickening or thermal hydrolysis) and biogas upgrades for injection into natural gas network use or use as transit fuel.
The first part of the IRR feasibility study created a powerful tool to help the Region identify and evaluate IRR options, not only at this moment, but also in the future. The developed analysis tool and evaluative framework can be further modified with new parameters (i.e. regulatory landscape, market and viability of various technologies, pricing of natural gas, electricity, renewable natural gas/biogas, environmental attributes/carbon pricing, etc.).