Introduction

The Kahnawake First Nation (KAHNAWAKE) and the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (pronounced [ɡahnaˈwaːɡe] in Mohawk, is a First Nations reserve of the Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke situated on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, across from Montreal.

Its territory totals an area of 48.05 square kilometres and its registered band population numbers about 8,000, with a significant number of band members living off the territory. In addition to small community vendors, KAHNAWAKE’s economy has been able to thrive through the sale of tobacco products and online gaming and which provide income and employment.

4 SKIES believes it has the right solution for supplying electricity to all of KAHNAWAKE and a commercial scale vertical farm operation, through the installation of a natural gas power plant, that will generate sizable revenue and up to 400 jobs for local area residents. Equally as important, the project will emit zero CO2 emissions. Once completed, the project will immediately become self-sufficient in the production of heat and power required to run the entire operation, with enough surplus power to supply all homes, businesses and band owned facilities in KAHNAWAKE.

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After an initial assessment of the KAHNAWAKE opportunity, 4 SKIES proposes a holistic solution involving the installation of a 22 MW natural gas power plant to supply up to 17 MW of electricity to the vertical farm operation and 5 MW to the KAHNAWAKE community. The vertical farm operation will comprise 995,743 ft2 (92,508 m2) of floor space and will utilize proven “gully” handling systems for producing leafy vegetables, and other commercial systems for growing fruits and vegetables. The vertical farm will operate 24/7/365, under a controlled environment, and will utilize proprietary state-of-the-art artificial lighting. In fact, the artificial lighting systems, which use a special type of LED lighting, are computer controlled to deliver specific light recipes for each crop to enhance colour, flavor and nutrition, as well as yield. With a typical annual production factor of approximately 912,500 kilograms (kg) per 10,000 m2, the KAHNAWAKE Project is expected to produce 25,361,094 kg (25,361 metric tons) of quality organic produce per year.

To produce 25,361,094 kg (25,361 metric tons) of quality organic produce per year will require a vertical farm operation comprising 995,743 ft2 (92,508 m2) of floor space. This can be accommodated by constructing two vertical farm buildings, each with five stories and a structural footprint of 107,640 ft2 (10,000 m2), with enough space for processing and shipping.

Vertical Farm Buildings
Vertical Farm Schematic

To supply the power needed for the vertical farm operation, 4 SKIES proposes to install 4 identical gas turbine units, each with an operational capacity of 5.5 MW per hour. A fifth unit of the same capacity will be installed as a back-up to ensure a continuous, uninterrupted power supply should one of the units need to be shut down for repair or routine maintenance. In addition to the gas plant, 4 SKIES proposes to install up to 1,000 kW of roof-mounted thin-film PV solar panels to take advantage of the nearly 215,278 ft2 (20,000 m2) of vacant roof space on the two vertical greenhouse buildings.

As the TRI-GEN-ZERO™ illustration above shows, a multi-unit natural gas plant is the primary source of power production. Waste heat is recovered and diverted to the greenhouses in the vertical farm operation. The CO2 from the turbine exhaust is also diverted to the vertical farm buildings to help boost production of multiple varieties of organic produce. Though each of the gas power plants operate at 31% efficiency, the use of rejected heat to heat the vertical farm buildings results in a much higher energy efficiency from a single fuel source. Some of the rejected heat can also be stored or used to enhance anaerobic digestion of plant waste using anaerobic digesters (not shown), which can easily be installed to take care of the plant waste on site. Anaerobic digesters not only process organic waste from the vertical farms, but they produce biogas that can be converted into natural gas to be consumed by the gas plants. They also produce bio-fertilizers from the residual digestate material which can be used as plant food and bedding material. A small portion of the heat can also be used to distill water for use in the vertical farm operation. By utilizing waste heat for these purposes, the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) feature of the TRI-GEN-ZERO™ project raises the overall energy conversion efficiency to 85% or higher.

The four 5.5 MW natural gas power plant units contemplated for the project are designed and built by Solar Turbines, (a Division of Caterpillar) using proven, “best-in-class” technology, including: gas turbine and generator; switch gear; transformer; emission control systems; electrical and mechanical systems. All OEM components are designed and engineered to work together, seamlessly and flawlessly. An electrical substation will also be installed to connect the power plants and vertical farm operation to the local grid. The roof-mounted 1,000 kW PV solar panels to be installed on the roof of the vertical farm buildings will also be tied into the substation.

The project will produce and supply its own water needs by processing water taken directly from a nearby flooded gravel pit. Approximately 2.2 million gallons (10,000 m3) of water per day will be extracted from the water source and treated and filtered using a reverse osmosis (RO) purification system to remove any dissolved or suspended solids, effluent or bacteria from the raw water.

When this project goes forward, 4 SKIES will oversee a comprehensive feasibility study inclusive of designing and pre-engineering the project. Upon conclusion of the feasibility study, 4 SKIES will discuss with its local partner options for capitalizing the project. This may involve raising private equity and debt from the capital markets in the US and Canada. It is expected that the local partner will play a key role in the project as a joint venture partner and operator. As it is envisioned that most of the power produced by the project (17MW) will be utilized by the vertical farm operation with a smaller amount (5 MW) being distributed at preferred rates to the KAHNAWAKE community members, businesses and band owned facilities. The financial strength of the project will be entirely invested in the long-term contract(s) signed with a national produce wholesaler(s) for the food production from the project.

Kanhawake Project Map

The KAHNAWAKE Project will be located on a 5-hectare site situated on the KAHNAWAKE First Nation Territory. The site is owned by Irvin Goodleaf, a private investor and resident member of the KAHNAWAKE First Nation, approximately 5 kilometers south of Montreal, Quebec, and 1.5 kilometers north of the City of Chateauguay, Quebec.

With assistance from its local partner, 4 SKIES is confident it will be able to raise the capital needed for the project. With assistance from its Canadian partners, IGES Canada Ltd. (Vertical Farms) and LEC – Light Emitting Computers Inc. (LED lighting), as well as, support from San Diego based Solar Turbines Incorporated (Power Block), 4 SKIES is more than capable of managing the design, installation and operation of the KAHNAWAKE Gas Power Plant and Vertical Farm Operation.