Calgary-based Atco Energy Solutions recently announced the construction of a new facility that will use the byproducts from organic waste to produce renewable natural gas (RNG).
The facility, a first for the Calgary-based company, will be built north of Vegreville, Alta. and should be up and running by late 2022. It will process agricultural manure and other organic waste products from nearby municipalities, harvesting the methane emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
The facility will also produce fertilizer as a byproduct, to be used by local farmers. Vegreville-based biofuels company Future Fuel Ltd. will partner with Atco to develop the project.
Mike Shaw, senior vice-president for Atco Energy Solutions, said the facility will be one of the largest renewable natural gas facilities in Canada once completed. He said it will produce enough natural gas to heat 2,500 homes per year and reduce carbon emissions by 20,000 tonnes annually.
While the Vegreville facility will be Atco’s first renewable fuels project, Shaw said it is in the process of developing others in order to help meet its climate change and sustainability targets. Renewable natural gas can be produced from a variety of feedstocks, including residential and commercial organics, waste from water treatment plants, and landfill waste. It can be injected into the existing natural gas grid just like conventional natural gas.
“This facility is an important investment in the advancement of ATCO’s clean fuels strategy,” said Bob Jones, President, ATCO Energy Solutions. “ATCO is leading the shift to a lower-carbon energy system by enabling our customers’ energy transition to cleaner fuels such as renewable natural gas and hydrogen. We are actively investing in sustainable energy projects – here in Alberta and globally – in an effort to decarbonize the way we live and work, in support of a safe, reliable, affordable and cleaner energy future.”
Brian Nilsson, Director at Future Fuel, stated at the news conference, “We are pleased to announce our partnership with ATCO Energy Solutions to recommission and repurpose an idle biogas asset in Two Hills County. This project adds organics processing facilities in the Capital region, offering a solution to both municipalities and the confined feeding industry for organics processing and emissions reductions. We look forward to continued cooperation with ATCO Energy Solutions and Emissions Reduction Alberta.”
Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) has committed $7.9M to the project through its Natural Gas Challenge. This investment comes from the Government of Alberta and is sourced from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.