The Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) recently amended the renewable energy approval for the Woolwich Bio-En Inc. Anaerobic Digestion Facility. This Class 3 Anaerobic Digestion facility generates 2.85 megawatts of electricity and 3.02 megawatts of heat from the biogas produced from a variety of organic materials, including, but not limited to the following:

  • source separated organics
  • organics from food processing facilities, grocery stores, food distribution companies, and milling facilities
  • livestock manure
  • glycerol
  • kitchen waste
  • fats, oil, and grease
  • renewable energy crops (i.e., corn silage)
  • organic solids skimmed from dissolved air flotation tanks

The facility includes an operations building and a processing building. The operations building houses the reciprocating engines and other equipment to perform facility operations and control. The processing building receives organic materials and contains equipment to prepare and blend the organic material prior to being fed into the anaerobic digestion equipment.

The facility uses three pre-treatment tanks, two main digester tanks and one repository tank to generate and store biogas. The biogas is combusted in reciprocating engines to produce renewable heat and power.

The facility is expected to emit air contaminants including products of combustion, volatile organic compounds and potentially odour; however, the facility has been designed with state-of-the-art emissions control equipment (i.e. a biofilter) to mitigate the potential emissions of air contaminants and odour from activities including organic unloading, processing and digestate loading.

The following changes have been approved as part of the amendment:

  • Increased annual tonnage from 70,000 tonnes to 110,000 tonnes per year although there has been no change to the approved maximum daily tonnage of 750 tonnes per day.
  • Increased production rate of biogas purification from 127 m3/h to 1,000 m3/h.
  • Change in truck movements from 80 trucks to 160 truck movements per day.
  • Comprehensive approval with operational flexibility to allow Woolwich Bio-En Inc. the ability to make minor modifications that improve operations without any significant environmental impact.
  • Allowance to ship cleaned, de-packed slurry to another anaerobic digestion facility.
  • Changes to allow some flexibility of feedstock materials received.Being able to accept new types of biomass increases the flexibility of waste received at the facility.

The October 29, 2019 amendment application also proposed the addition of propylene glycol to the allowed feedstock list; however, this addition has since been removed from the amendment application. The applicant is no longer requesting propylene glycol as a feedstock.

The ministry requested that Woolwich Bio-En Inc. hold a public meeting to consult on the proposed changes. A public meeting was held in Elmira on January 29, 2020.

This amendment has been approved in accordance with the requirements of Part V.0.1 of the Environmental Protection Act and the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation (Ontario Regulation 359/09).