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StormFisher to Open Source Separated Organics Processing Centre in Southwestern Ontario

StormFisher Biogas, headquartered in London, Ontario, recently opened a new Resource Recovery Centre in southwestern Ontario.  The new facility, located in the Village of Drumbo, receives and processes municipal source separated organics and packaged food waste.  The incoming material is processed and is then supplied to either StormFisher’s anaerobic digesters in London or is sent to third party digesters.

The facility also provides witnessed destruction through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and certificates of destruction are available upon request.

The materials accepted at the new facility include municipal source separated organics (SSO), industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) waste, packaged food waste, liquid food waste, and solid food waste

The site is 4.29 hectares in area. The facility processes solid organic waste to produce products used in the agricultural industry. The facility receives up to 816 tonnes per day from an Ontario-wide service area. All waste is received, stored and processed indoors. The processing will include sorting, shredding, grinding and screening. The facility will process waste up to 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Woolwich Bio-En Inc. expands Anaerobic Digestion Operations

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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).

Private Company Developing new Organics Processing Facility in Toronto

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Coronation Organics Processing, Inc. is in the processing of developing a state-of-the-art, organics recycling and bioenergy facility to be located in Toronto.  When constructed, the facility will have  state-of-the-art de-packaging equipment capable of processing over 30 tonnes per hour of mixed packaged organics for recycling.

From food manufacturing, greenhouse and packing shed organics, grocery store and restaurant food green-box collection, the facility will be able to divert organic material from landfill and recycle it into renewable energy and organic fertilizer is an environmentally sound solution for the treatment of organic waste streams.

Facility Design

As proposed by the company, the Design and Operation (D&O) Report details the design and operation of the proposed Coronation Organics Processing Centre and Anaerobic Digester.
The facility consists of two parts, an Organics Processing Centre (OPC) and Anaerobic Digester System. The facility is designed to work together to process and transfer organic residues for the generation of renewable natural gas and organic fertilizer (digestate). The OPC is designed to be able to provide clean organics for the anaerobic digester system or for export from site. The anaerobic digester system uses the clean organics to generate renewable natural gas for injection into the existing natural gas grid and digestate for export from site for use as an organic fertilizer.

Facility Description

The Facility is currently permitted via ECA Number 4568-AJTR84 is held by Optimum Environmental Corp.  The existing permit includes construction and demolition (C&D) and organics processing on the same permit but as the operation of these two processes is different and that they operate independently of
one another, it is requested that the Permit be split into two separate ECA Permits.
The only shared equipment between the two facilities will be fencing and gates, the weigh-scales that are used to weigh trucks as they enter and exit the property and the roads on the site. All other activities are separate.
The Organics Processing Centre (OPC) is designed to process up to 1240 metric tons per day of organics. Of this material, the anaerobic digester system can process up to 620 metric tons/day.  Any organic material that is processed through the OPC that is not used as feedstock to the anaerobic digester will be exported from the site to other operating anaerobic digester facilities or other appropriately permitted facilities.
The anaerobic digester system will use processed organic residuals from IC&I and SSO material to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) for injection into the natural gas grid and digestate for use on agricultural land.

 

Lethbridge Biogas facility undergoing $7 million expansion

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The Lethbridge Alberta Biogas facility is undergoing a $7 million expansion.  The expansion will introduce the company into the natural gas market by allowing biogas to be purified into pipeline-grade biomethane.  With the expansion it will soon be able to supply renewable natural gas to the Lethbridge area and also expand into the British Columbia market.

The expansion will introduce Lethbridge Biogas into the natural gas market, by allowing for the plant’s biogas to be purified into pipeline-grade biomethane, (renewable natural gas or RNG), which will be injected into ATCO’s natural gas grid. This carbon-neutral biomethane will also be supplied to FortisBC under a long-term supply agreement by mid-2021. Once the expansion is complete, Lethbridge Biogas will have the first full-scale, commercial renewable natural gas application in Alberta.

“This expansion at our Lethbridge Biogas facility is another significant milestone in the history of our project,” says Lethbridge Biogas Director of Operations Stefan Michalski. “It is the result of dedication and very hard work from our team over many, many years to get our business established, not only in the Lethbridge area but beyond in the Canadian and North American context. A lot of players in the RNG market were interested to become part of this expansion, as RNG has become a highly sought-after commodity to reduce the carbon footprint in the natural gas supply chain.”

Feedstock

The Lethbridge biogas/cogeneration plant processes organic residues such as agricultural manures and food processing by-products. The facility is currently able to process the following categories of organic materials:

  • Liquid & solid manures from Intensive Livestock Operations (beef, dairy, hog & poultry etc.)
  • Fats, Oil & Greases (FOG) from slaughterhouses, meat packing plants, canneries, restaurants, food processors, cafeterias & grocery stores
  • Food processing residues (oils seeds, grains, fruit & vegetables, corn, beet, potato, dairy products, alcohol, etc.)
  • Aerobic sludges from non-municipal wastewater treatment & industrial process water
  • Pet food residues
  • Separated kitchen & market residues from food processors, bakeries, pizza parlours, restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores, hospitals, universities, households
  • Paunch manure from meat packing plants
  • Non-wood containing garden & horticultural residues from greenhouses, garden centers, flower shops, municipalities, households
  • Glycerol from industrial biodiesel production
  • Silage from farm operations (corn, grain, grass etc.)
  • Pulp & paper sludges from paper mills
  • Animal by-products from slaughterhouses and packing plants and animal carcasses from intensive livestock operations incl. Specified Risk Material (SRM)

History of the Facility

In 2013 Lethbridge Biogas LP officially opened the largest anaerobic digester/co-generation facility in Canada at the time. Designed and built by PlanET Biogas, the $30 million facility has a generating capacity of 2.8 MW – enough to power 2,800 homes. It was built such that it has the capacity to expand to produce as much as 4.2 MW in the future with the addition of new generating units.

Alberta Researchers develop method of accelerating anaerobic digestion up to 70%

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Researchers from the University of Alberta claim they have developed a method that accelerates the anaerobic digestion process by up to 70 percent. The key step to speed up the anaerobic degradation process is the addition of conductive materials to the feedstock such as granular activated carbon.

Environmental engineering master’s student Bappi Chowdhury (left) and supervisor Bipro Dhar in the lab with a “digester” they are developing that uses microbes to convert a mixture of food waste and fat, oil and grease into renewable biomethane. (Photo: Sean Townsend, Folio)

Environmental engineering master’s student Bappi Chowdhury and his colleagues at the University of Alberta found that the added activated carbon in the feedstock functions as a hub for microbes looking to dump or pick up electrons as part of biochemical processes. 

The results from the granular activated carbon to the organic feedstock of the anaerobic digester resulted in decomposition times being reduced from 20 to 25 days to just seven. The researchers also tested the degradation rate with the addition of the rock mineral magnetite and found similar, although not as effective, results.

Researchers also experiments with different levels of food waste with fats, oils, and grease (FOG). Based on there testing, they found that a mixture of 70 percent food waste and 30 percent FOG resulted in the fasted anaerobic digestion.

The supervisor of the research, Dr. Bipro Dhar, noted in an interview with Folio, the U of Alberta journal, “More work will first be needed. That means looking for even better and cheaper conductive materials, economic feasibility studies and scaled-up pilot projects.” 

Canadian Anaerobic Digestion Guideline

The Canadian Biogas Association (CBA) has developed an industry-led, national Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Guideline document. The AD Guideline provides recommended planning, design, and operational practices for AD facilities that process food and organic waste materials. The document aims to create a clear outline of best practices for biogas projects and assist developers and stakeholders with the regulatory process and remove barriers to support growth in the green economy.

The AD Guideline addresses a gap following a global jurisdictional scan that found over 20 AD Guidelines or supporting documents in Europe, Australia, and the US with no equivalent document for Canada. The AD Guideline was shared in draft form with CBA members, biogas industry colleagues, and key stakeholders in several regions across Canada in early 2019 with notable input from government departments, industry organizations, and members representing agriculture, municipal and private interests. By far the overlying sentiments from the feedback was tremendously positive.

Now, a first of kind Canadian AD Guideline offers technical guidance to support continued development of biogas projects in Canada. The CBA would like to thank committee members and stakeholders for their contributions and interest in the development of this important resource.

AD Guideline Development
The CBA’s objectives in developing the AD Guideline are:

  • Create a clear outline of best practices for biogas projects;
  • Assist developers and stakeholders with the regulatory process and remove barriers to support growth in the green economy;
  • Inform proponents to minimize or prevent, using buffers or other control measures, the exposure of any person, property, plant or animal life to adverse effects associated with the operation of food and organic waste AD facilities.

The AD Guideline is written for industry by industry. The AD Guideline is developed to assist stakeholders in deployment of AD facilities. Stakeholders include developers, regulators, organizations with specific or general interest in AD facilities. The AD Guideline focuses on AD facilities that process food and organic waste, including agricultural feedstock.

Requesting Your Copy
If you wish to receive a copy of the Canadian AD Guideline, please contact the Canadian Biogas Association.

Could Renewable Natural Gas Be the Next Big Thing in Green Energy?

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Written by Jonathan Mingle, Freelance Journalist and republished with permission of Yale Environment 360

In the next few weeks, construction crews will begin building an anaerobic digester on the Goodrich Family Farm in western Vermont that will transform cow manure and locally sourced food waste into renewable natural gas (RNG), to be sent via pipeline to nearby Middlebury College and other customers willing to pay a premium for low-carbon energy.

For the developer, Vanguard Renewables, the project represents both a departure and a strategic bet. The firm already owns and operates five farm-based biogas systems in Massachusetts; each generates electricity on site that is sent to the grid and sold under the state’s net-metering law. The Vermont project, however, is Vanguard’s first foray into producing RNG — biogas that is refined, injected into natural gas pipelines as nearly pure methane, and then burned to make electricity, heat homes, or fuel vehicles.

“Producing RNG for pipeline injection and vehicle fueling is the evolution of where everything is going” in the biogas sector, says John Hanselman, Vanguard’s CEO.

Biogas has been around for a long time in the United States, mainly in the form of rudimentary systems that either capture methane from landfills and sewage treatment plants and use it to produce small amounts of electricity, or aging digesters at dairy operations that might power a local farm and send some surplus power to the grid. But those are fast becoming outdated and out-produced by a new wave of large-scale renewable natural gas projects that are springing up around the country. These ventures are tapping into heretofore unexploited sources of energy: some are capturing the vast amounts of methane generated by manure from some of the 2,300 hog farms that dot eastern North Carolina; some are building biodigesters to turn clusters of large California dairy farms into energy hubs; and some are seeking to divert food waste from landfills and transform it into vehicle and heating fuels.

Biogas systems could produce enough renewable energy to power 3 million homes in the U.S.

Renewable natural gas is reaching a tipping point for several reasons: An increasing number of third-party operators like Vanguard are relieving farmers and landfills of the burden of running their own energy systems and are introducing more sophisticated technologies to capture methane and pump it directly into pipelines. Some states, including California, are passing laws requiring the development of renewable natural gas. And utilities across the country are starting to support these new initiatives, as evidenced by the new partnership between Dominion Energy and Smithfield Farms — the world’s largest pork producer — to develop new hog waste biogas projects. For proponents, the ultimate goal is to replace a significant portion of the fossil-derived natural gas streaming through U.S. pipelines with pure methane generated by human garbage and animal and agricultural waste.

“If you can recover energy before sending what remains back to the soil, that’s a great thing,” said Nora Goldstein, the longtime editor of BioCycle Magazine, which has covered the organics recycling and anaerobic digestion industries for decades. “You look at all those benefits and say, ‘Why aren’t more people doing this?’ The key is you need to do it correctly.”

The untapped potential — especially of the billions of gallons of animal manure and millions of tons of food waste generated each year in the U.S. — is immense. According to a 2014 “Biogas Opportunities Roadmap” report produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Energy, the U.S. could support at least 13,000 biogas facilities, fed by manure, landfill gas, and biosolids from sewage treatment plants. Those new systems could produce 654 billion cubic feet of biogas per year — enough renewable energy to power 3 million homes. And a study by the World Resources Institute estimated that the 50 million tons of organic waste sent to landfills or incinerated every year in the U.S has the energy content of 6 billion gallons of diesel fuel, 15 percent of all diesel consumed by heavy-duty trucks and buses.

A truck delivers food waste to an anaerobic digester at a Massachusetts farm. VANGUARD RENEWABLES

Experts say that the growing utilization of biogas could help lower greenhouse gas emissions from some of the toughest sectors to decarbonize — transportation, industry, and heating buildings — even as it reduces heat-trapping methane emissions, keeps organic waste out of landfills, and prevents manure runoff into rivers and water supplies. Through anaerobic digestion, biogas can be made from any organic material — food scraps, agricultural residues, even the sludge left over from brewing beer. These materials are fed as a slurry into tanks where microbes feast on them in the absence of oxygen, destroying pathogens, producing methane and other gases, and leaving a nutrient-rich fertilizer as a byproduct.

In the field of renewable natural gas, the U.S. is playing catch up with Europe, which has more than 17,400 biogas plants and accounts for two-thirds of the world’s 15 gigawatts of biogas electricity capacity. Denmark alone, a country of 5.8 million people, has more than 160 biogas systems. For a period last summer, 18 percent of the gas consumed in Denmark came from RNG produced by its anaerobic digesters. Flush with their success, Danish bioenergy firms estimate it will be feasible to fully replace the country’s natural gas with renewable natural gas within 20 years.

The former manager of the EPA’s anaerobic digestion programs, Chris Voell, was so impressed with Denmark’s biogas operations — which are highly engineered to digest a mix of household food scraps, residuals from food processing businesses, and livestock manure — that he now works for the Danish Trade Council to introduce Danish digester technology and business models to the U.S market.

As with most climate initiatives, California is leading biogas efforts in the U.S. The state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) — which provides incentives for fuel producers to increase the amount of low-carbon or renewable fuels they supply and sell — is a key component of the state’s ambitious climate plan and has catalyzed the rapid growth of a new, lucrative market for RNG as a vehicle fuel.

A growing crop of specialized firms builds, owns, and operates anaerobic digesters in the U.S.

Companies like Maas Energy Works and California Bioenergy have responded to these incentives by installing digesters at California’s dairy farms at a rapid clip. Maas has built 17 so far, with 12 more under construction and 32 others in development, according to its website. Both companies are racing to take advantage of valuable LCFS incentives.

And both are among a growing crop of specialized, investor-backed firms that build, own, and operate anaerobic digesters in the U.S. “With every day the industry is gaining more credibility,” Voell says. “We’re seeing more professional third-party companies. And in order to see this scale, it takes those professionals to come in and build 10, 20, 50 projects, and access a lot of equity investors. They want a portfolio of projects to invest in, not just one.”

In North Carolina, the abundant feedstock is hog manure. And the latest entrant in the RNG race is Smithfield, the world’s biggest grower of hogs. North Carolina is the second-largest pork-producing state (after Iowa). Each day, more than 2,000 of its hog farms flush manure from 9 million pigs into vast lagoons, which emit equally vast quantities of methane. Ninety percent of those farms are contract growers for Smithfield.

Late last year, Smithfield launched a joint venture, Align RNG, with a Virginia-based utility, Dominion Energy, to invest $250 million in covering lagoons and installing anaerobic digesters at nearly all of its hog finishing farms in North Carolina, Utah, and Missouri over the next 10 years. Construction is already underway on four projects that will produce enough RNG to power 14,000 homes and businesses.

A covered lagoon manure digester on Van Warmerdam Dairy in Galt, California. MAAS ENERGY WORKS

These systems will all be modeled on Optima KV, a biogas project in Kenansville, North Carolina, in the heart of hog country. Last year, Optima KV became the first project in the state to produce and inject RNG into an existing natural gas pipeline.

The factors that made Optima KV possible — along with the waste from 60,000 pigs on five nearby farms, and a centralized system to clean and upgrade the gas — include a state renewable energy portfolio standard law signed in 2007. That law contained a requirement that utilities source at least 0.2 percent of their electricity from swine and poultry waste by 2020. That mandate helped push Duke Energy, one of the biggest utilities in the U.S., to sign a 15-year agreement to purchase 80,000 million BTUs of RNG from Optima KV. That biogas will directly displace the use of fossil natural gas and generate 11,000 megawatt-hours of power in two of Duke’s power plants.

Vanguard’s new operation in Vermont represents an alternative model for scaling up RNG production. The company’s digesters are more complex and expensive — engineered to produce a consistent output of gas even as feedstocks and other conditions change — than the systems being built in California. The California systems basically cover huge dairy waste lagoons with plastic membranes and then extract, refine, and pipe the gas to customers.

“We take a more high-tech approach primarily because we need to produce a lot more gas from a much smaller footprint,” Hanselman says. “We don’t have the luxury of a 10,000-cow dairy.”

RNG has flourished in Europe because of generous subsidy programs that are lacking in the U.S.

Along with the daily stream of 100 tons of manure from the Goodrich farm’s 900 cows, and 165 tons of food waste, a number of factors have come together to make Vanguard’s Vermont project possible. In Middlebury College, Vanguard found a large customer eager to slash its carbon footprint. A new law about to take effect in Vermont will ban food waste from landfills starting in 2020, forcing grocery stores and food processors to find new places to send their waste.

And Goodrich Farm will get free heat, monthly lease payments for hosting the system, and bedding for its cows from the leftover digested solids — cost savings that can offer a lifeline for dairy farmers in a period of disastrously low milk prices.

Hanselman, Vanguard’s CEO, says that a key element to expanding RNG is taking the burden of running the system off of farmers. Hanselman encountered many irate farmers who had negative experiences with a previous generation of digesters that had been sold to them as a low-maintenance, low-cost solution to their nutrient management problems. In fact, digesters are finicky machines, sensitive to changes in temperature and the variability of organic material in feedstocks. Says Hanselman, “We tell our farmers, ‘Your job is to make milk, healthy cows, and take care of your fields and soils. Let us run these machines.’”

RNG has flourished in Europe in part because of generous subsidy programs; such comprehensive policies are lacking on the federal level in the U.S., which has a chaotic patchwork of regional and state markets, utilities, incentives, and policies. But Hanselman and others foresee that in the next several years, more states will mandate renewable natural gas production, further strengthening the fledgling biogas market.

“It feels extremely similar to solar,” says Hanselman, who used to run a solar company. “We are in the early days of RNG. Everyone will be running from program to program trying to figure out which states are beneficial, and how to best get RNG into the marketplace.”

Market forces alone, however, won’t be enough to usher in a biogas revolution. The single policy that could supercharge the growth of biogas and RNG in the U.S., most industry observers and insiders agree, is a federally legislated price on carbon. But given that a carbon tax or comprehensive climate bill aren’t likely to emerge any time soon under the current administration, Hanselman says the next best thing the federal government could do is reinstate the investment tax credit for digester systems, which lapsed in 2016.

Despite these challenges, Voell thinks there is now enough momentum to see biogas finally gain widespread traction as a renewable energy source in the U.S.

“I’m more encouraged now more than ever, because I’m actually seeing some projects getting built,” he says. “The states are stepping up with policies. And we’re seeing a revolution now where gas utilities are coming on board. Utilities wield a lot of power. If they decide RNG is something they’d like to see more of, then we’ll start to see the needle move more on the policy front.”

This article has been republished with the permission of Yale E360. It was originally published at Yale E360.


About the Author

Jonathan Mingle is a freelance journalist who focuses on the environment, climate, and development issues. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The Boston Globe, and other publications. He lives in Vermont

Ontario: Changes to Biogas Rules for Farms to Increase Economic Opportunity in Renewable Natural Gas Sector

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The Government of Ontario recently launched consultations to identify potential changes that would allow farmers to expand the emerging renewable natural gas market in Ontario and make the province a North American leader in the biogas sector. The consultations will focus on changes designed to reduce red tape and grow untapped economic opportunities for on-farm biogas operations.

“Today we are launching consultations designed to unlock the economic potential of the biogas industry,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “These consultations will focus on identifying potential changes that would enable the biogas sector to access new markets for renewable natural gas through red tape reduction. We want these consultations to pinpoint potential changes that could enable Ontario’s $35 million dollar-a-year biogas sector to grow by up to 50 per cent over the next five years.”

Consultations will look at opportunities to enable biogas upgrading to produce renewable natural gas on-farm, ways to streamline approvals, and requirements for off-farm and agricultural feedstocks.

These consultations could lead to potential changes that would also help Ontario food processors, providing an alternative to landfill disposal that could potentially save the sector millions of dollars while encouraging the recycling of nutrients to reduce greenhouse gases. The government will encourage the return of organic materials to agricultural land to build soil health and fertility for crop production.

These potential changes would add to the more than 80 proposed actions in the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act that would streamline requirements and eliminate unnecessary regulations for businesses in Ontario.

Public Input

Planned consultations on the proposal will focus on reducing red tape in regulations for anaerobic digesters in order to grow untapped economic opportunities for on-farm biogas operations. The consultations will also look at opportunities to enable biogas upgrading to produce renewable natural gas on-farm, ways to streamline approvals, and requirements for off-farm and agricultural feedstocks. Comments on the proposal can be directed to [email protected]

Zooshare Biogas Co-operative receives $2.7 million in funding

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Zooshare Biogas Co-operative recently announced it has received a multi-year grant of $2.67 million from the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), as part of the Low Carbon Economy Fund.

The government funds will support the construction and operation of the Zooshare anaerobic digester that is being built at the Toronto Zoo. It will enable Zooshare to double the processing capacity of feedstock which will consist of animal waste from the Toronto Zoo and organic waste from nearby grocery stores.

With this grant in place, Zooshare will continue with its plans to complete construction this year and reach commercial operations in Spring 2020.  Zooshare will also begin the planning work related to the facility’s expansion, which would include adding a second digestion tank and the necessary equipment to clean and inject renewable natural gas (RNG) into nearby pipelines.

About Zooshare

ZooShare is developing North America’s first zoo-based biogas plant. The anaerobic digester will recycle manure from the Toronto Zoo and local food waste into renewable power for the Ontario electricity grid. This process will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, and will return valuable nutrients to the soil in the form of a high-quality fertilizer.

The ZooShare mission is to be a catalyst, through education and investment, in the growth of community-owned biogas plants. The Co-op’s business model also creates investment opportunities that keep energy dollars in the local economy.



B.C. Waste Organics Management Facility Fined $300,000 over Odour issues

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Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd. recently agreed in British Columbia Provincial Court to pay a $300,000 fine for violating the Metro Vancouver Regional District’s air quality bylaw on two dates in November 2016.
The two $150,000 fines are the biggest in Metro Vancouver history.

Source of Problem

Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd  entered the organic waste management business in Metro Vancouver in 2009, when it purchased Fraser Richmond Soil and Fibre, which had largely handled landscaping waste since 1993.

Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd. received a $5 million grant from the federal Clean Energy Fund to help bankroll its high solids anaerobic digestion facility. It got another $2 million from Metro Vancouver for improvements and $500,000 plus a $1 million loan from the provincial government in 2012.

When in full operation, the composting and anaerobic digestion facility turned region’s organic waste (i..c, curbside collected organic waste as well as leaf and yard waste) into clean, renewable electricity and high quality compost. Statistics for the facility were as follows: 

  • Over 200,000 metric tonnes of organic materials processed per year;
  • 6,500 mWh of clean, renewable electricity generated; and
  • Over 180,000 cubic yards of top quality soil products generated per year.

Odour became a major problem at the Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd. facility after the district banned food scraps from landfills in 2015. the company began accepting more organic waste and odours emanated from open air windrows.

Compost Windrows at the Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd facility, November, 2016.

In 2017 the City of Richmond stopped sending its organic waste to Harvest and chose to divert it to Delta-based Enviro-Smart Organic.

Why did the Facility Close Down?

The operation in Richmond that had consisted of both compositng and anaerobic digestion was shuttered in 2018. At the time the shut down of operations were announced, Stephen Bruyneel, a company spokesperson, stated it was due to regulatory uncertainty. Mr. Bruyneel told the Richmond News that Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd. was not willing to make multi-million dollar facility improvements amidst uncertainty surrounding its air quality permit, issued by Metro Vancouver.

In September 2016, Metro Vancouver issued a four-year permit to
Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd. on the condition it must take measures to mitigate odours and is bound by new enforcement guidelines.

One odour-mitigation measure in the permit was a new Covered Aerated Static Pile (CASP) Composting System that was to be in place by April, 2019. In the August closure announcement, the company stated it was not willing to install the CASP Composting System.

Another condition in the air permit that the company decided was untenable was the “odour measurement” system listed as a condition. The condition stated that Metro Vancouver employees would determine if odours from the impacting sensitive receptors. The company claimed it was method was unscientific.

Payment of the Fine

Harvest Fraser Richmond Organics Ltd. declared bankruptcy in 2018 and is now under creditor protection. At the time it declared bankruptcy, the company’s accounts payable totaled over $1.6 million. Creditors included a several environmental consulting firms an analytical laboratory.

Ray Robb, Metro Vancouver’s manager of air quality of enforcement, doubts the fine will be paid due the creditor protection the company is still in.

Mr. Robb said Metro Vancouver was to charge the company with dozens of counts of pollution, which carried fines of up to $1 million per day. The district had evidence of pollution from Sept. 1, 2016, to Nov. 16, 2016, as well as the two days noted in the settlement. However, it was decided to pursue charges for only two days in November as it was the day that environmental officers were in the field collecting evidence and coincided when there were many complaints from neighbours and meteorological conditions were stable.

The settlement stipulated that Metro Vancouver allow the company to change its name to 00891775 B.C. Ltd., which the provincial court system will register when posting the Feb. 22, 2019, court order.