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2024 Canadian Biomass Awards winners announced

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Biomass experts from across Canada gathered for a virtual celebration this week as the winners of the inaugural Canadian Biomass Awards were announced.

Awards were presented in five special categories, recognizing the work of individuals and organizations across the country. Here's the list of those who took home the hardware – with in-depth stories on each of them to be published in the coming weeks and in a special section in the print and digital spring edition of Canadian biomass.

Award for his life's work

Winner: Rob McCurdy

McCurdy is the former CEO of Pinnacle Renewable Energy. In his distinguished career spanning decades, Rob has exemplified leadership, innovation and a commitment to excellence.

Winner: Burkhard Fink

Fink has been a leader in the development of commercial and institutional biomass heating systems for two decades.

Winner: John Swaan

Swaan is a well-known pioneer in the wood pellet sector, considered the grandfather of the industry and produced and shipped the first mass shipment of pellets 25 years ago.

Community project of the year

Honorable Mention: Belledune Port Authority

The company was nominated for its leadership in increasing wood pellet and chip volumes over the past six years, increasing from 223,000 tonnes to over 510,000 tonnes.

Honorable Mention: Arctic Energy Alliance

AEA has pioneered bioheat in the Northwest Territories, making it the most successful region in Canada for this technology.

Winner: Village of Fort Simpson

The Northwest Territories village has committed to heating all municipal buildings with wood pellet heating and completed two biomass projects this year – a new wood pellet boiler at the water treatment plant and connecting the community pool and gym to an existing biomass-powered district heating system.

Thought Leader of the Year

Honorable Mention: Benjamin Patton, Treecycle

Patton has revolutionized the traditional waste streams of biomass and wood waste to ensure the highest and best use of all materials while prioritizing zero waste principles.

Honorable Mention: Jamie Stephen, Torchlight

Stephen is a prolific author of thought-provoking articles on, among other things, the role of bioheat in displacing electricity demand and the need for greater adoption of biomass district heating in Canada.

Winner: Liezl van Wyk, Drax Group Canada

Her leadership in the biomass industry has been exceptional and characterized by innovation, resilience and an unwavering commitment to safety.

Champion of the year

Honorable Mention: Jesse Douglas, Green Impact Partners

With a focus on renewable natural gas, GIP is developing the world's cleanest energy sources – including Future Energy Park, the largest carbon-negative RNG and ethanol project in North America.

Honorable Mention: Joe Webster, Tsi Del Del Enterprises

Webster is known for many things, including his masterful leadership of crews and machines.

Winner: Gordon Murray

Murray is executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC).

Company of the Year

Honorable Mention: Fink Machine

Fink is Canada's largest provider of biomass heating systems with more than 170 installations across the country.

Honorable Mention: BSB

BSB is a biomass energy provider offering the sale of energy and heating equipment. The company was founded in 2011 by the owners of Group Savoie and Compact Appliances.

Winner: Ecostrat

Through its BDO Zones initiative, the company has been instrumental in advancing Canada's bioeconomy and has established 48 BDO Zones as of 2021. Notable achievements include the National Workshop Agreement with the SCC and helping more than 10 communities secure funding from NRCAN's Clean Fuels Fund.