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Canada invests in waste-to-fuel study for Indigenous and Northern Communities

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The Government of Canada recently announced it was providing $95,000 in financial support to the Aurora Research Institute, in association with Delta Enterprises, a Gwitch’in owned company, to study the potential of converting waste cardboard into pellets as biomass feedstock for heating homes and businesses throughout Inuvik.

Northern communities are looking at ways to reduce their reliance on diesel for heating and electricity by increasing the use of local renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency.  The goal of the project is to eventually build a facility that will take up to 60 per cent of the community’s cardboard bound for the landfill and instead, recycle it into heating pellets, thereby supplementing Inuvik’s biomass pellet supply and reducing reliance on fossil fuels used for heating.

Converting the cardboard to pellets and then burning the pellets to generate heat and electricity results in lower greenhouse gas emissions than disposing of the cardboard in landfill.

By supporting an emerging northern biomass industry, the Government wants to create local jobs, transition to clean energy and keep investments in the North by using local resources and building a regional economy. This will support healthier, more sustainable communities, across the North.

The funding for the study is through the Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity program (Northern REACHE).  This investment is part of Canada’s nearly $700 million commitment to help rural and remote communities get off diesel, through programs delivered by Natural Resources Canada and Infrastructure Canada.

Canada and FCM invest in expanded residual materials recycling at eco centres in Quebec Municipality

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The Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recently announced the investment of $9.1 million for a project the will reuse residual materials in the eco centres of the Regional Municipal County (RMC) of La Rivière-du-Nord.  The funding is through the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) which supports more sustainable communities. The GMF is funded by the Government of Canada and delivered to municipalities by FCM.

Thanks to this funding, the RMC de La Rivière-du-Nord will be able to develop better management of residual materials, mainly by significantly reducing landfill sites and recycling residual materials on its territory. Currently, the RMC manages four eco centres that recover 900 tons of residual materials per year, and only materials that are in a condition to be resold are accepted. The funding will enable the RMC to build new infrastructure, including a reuse shop and a new energy-efficient eco centre in Saint-Jérôme, to optimize the Saint-Hippolyte and Prévost eco centres, and to treat construction, renovation and demolition residues as well as non-reusable materials.

“In collaboration with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Government of Canada is helping communities reduce their carbon footprints and operate more efficiently”, said Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation. “These pilot projects will help municipalities become more eco-efficient, improve the quality of the environment, and offer citizens access to greener services, equipment and tools.”

The expected environmental benefits of the project include the diversion of 900 tonnes per year of waste from landfill, increased recovery rates for the RMC from 60 to 66%, the retention of rainwater to suspended materials in stormwater runoff by 43%, and energy savings in the operation of 25%.

The project is expected to result in an operating cost savings from $991/tonne in 2019 to $226/tonne in 2021.  It will also provide a diversification of revenue sources with the contribution of the IC&I, contractor, and retail sectors.

Depending on the success of the project, there is potential for it to be replicated by municipalities in Quebec and across Canada.

“GMF is focused on local sustainable development projects that improve the quality of life of our citizens, and this project directly meets this goal,” stated Scott Pearce, FCM Third Vice-President and Mayor of the Township of Gore. “The new eco centres are an important step in adopting sustainable measures in the region. Reducing the amount of residual material going to landfill is not only good for the environment, but also helps people live healthier and build more sustainable communities.”

Bruno Laroche, Prefect of the RMC of La Rivière-du-Nord and Mayor of Saint-Hippolyte stated: “The success of reuse in the eco centres managed by the RMC of La Rivière-du-Nord is already known throughout the province. Optimization of the network will not only make it possible to maintain this momentum, but also to recycle construction materials, which account for nearly half of the generation of residual materials on the territory. This funding represents both a recognition of the efforts made and a boost to continue improving performance and achieving the objectives of the RMC’s residual materials management plan.”

The GMF is a $1-billion program funded by the Government of Canada and delivered by FCM.  Since 2000, GMF has helped bring over 1,360 projects to life.  GMF supports local innovation that can be replicated and scaled up across the country to tackle Canada’s climate challenges.

Sanexen Receives funding for pilot project to recycle C&D waste

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RECYC-QUÉBEC recently awarded funding to SANEXEN Environmental Services Inc., for Phase 1 of a project to recycle and reclaim gypsum residues and fine residues from the construction, renovation and demolition (CRD) sector.

As the Quebec Residual Materials Management Policy calls for fine residues to no longer be buried in landfills, CRD debris sorting centres are facing sizeable challenges. SANEXEN therefore proposes a solution to recycle and reclaim the fine materials, which would then avoid having to bury over 90% of fine residues from CRD debris sorting centres.

Phase 1 of the project, backed by RECYC-QUÉBEC, would transform fine residues into materials that could be reclaimed using SANEXEN’s own physicochemical treatment process. Moreover, this is the first traceability project in Quebec for residual materials coming directly from the source of production (CRD debris sorting centres) to a reclamation centre dedicated to processing this material. This traceability project is part of SANEXEN’s commitment to transparent and environmentally responsible management of these residual materials. Moreover, a project with the private sector had been carried out in 2019, in collaboration with Avatek Immobilier and Traces Québec.

“This is the first technologically and economically viable solution that will result in less than 10% of CRD fine residues ending up in the landfill at the end of this large-scale, one-year project,” said Martin Bureau, Vice-President, Innovation, SANEXEN.

This initiative will also help define the following aspects: what can actually be considered fine residue as opposed to waste and the type of fine residues that may be reclaimed. A more thorough definition of fine residue that can be reclaimed will also help refine possible markets for this material.

New B.C. Program aims to keep organic waste from landfill

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The Government of British Columbia recently announced that it is partnering with the federal and local governments on the new Organics Infrastructure Program. The $30-million program will help communities expand their infrastructure, diverting organic waste away from landfills. It will also help the Province meet its CleanBC commitment to help communities achieve 95% organic waste diversion for agricultural, industrial and municipal waste.

Organic waste currently represents 40% of material sent to municipal landfills in B.C. and generates 7.5% of the province’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In total, the projects are expected to reduce nearly 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the next decade. This is like removingmore than 100,000 cars from the roads for a year.

The Organics Infrastructure Program combines $10 million in federal funding from the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, $10 million from the Province, and $10 million in matching funds from local government applicants and their partners. Among the projects are two from the Central Kootenay Regional District — Central landfill composting facility and the Creston landfill composting facility — that, together, provide the region with food-waste processing capacity for the first time. Another recipient is the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality’s worm composting facility. It will divert organic waste from Fort Nelson’s landfill and create high-quality soil.

“This program will help communities, the Province and Canada meet our shared climate action goals,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “It will also help build B.C.’s clean economy by creating green jobs and setting the stage for the economic opportunities that come from the reuse of organic materials.” 

“Investing in better infrastructure for waste management will divert organic waste from municipal landfills and turn it into clean and useful compost,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Initiatives such as this one are key to fighting climate change and helping us reach net-zero emissions by 2050. I congratulate the Province of British Columbia for its leadership in this effort.”

Twelve projects have finalized agreements to date. Additional projects are expected to come on board in the coming months. The initial projects are expected to break ground starting in the spring.

Organics Program Receipiants

The 12 projects in 10 B.C. that are to receive funding are listed below. Additional projects are expected to be approved in the coming months. The dollar values below represent the provincial funding portion only. The money will be distributed over three fiscal years to support project planning, design and construction.

Central Coast

  • Central Coast organics compost diversion initiative (Phase 1): $49,092
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 950
  • This project, led by the Central Coast Regional District, is the first phase of a composting facility that will allow Bella Coola to divert organic waste from its landfill for the first time and enhance services to the Nuxalk Nation.

Central Kootenay

  • Central landfill composting facility: $776,053
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 68,873
  • Creston landfill composting facility: $ 485,745
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 15,890
  • Two complementary projects, led by the Regional District of Central Kootenay, will provide processing capacity for food waste for the first time in the regional district. These projects represent strong partnerships within and outside the regional district as one of the facilities will also service part of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

Columbia Shuswap

  • Revelstoke composting facility: $100,000
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 61,465
  • This project, led by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, will allow residents and businesses from the City of Revelstoke and Electoral Area B to divert food waste from the landfill for the first time. Over half the waste entering the Revelstoke landfill is organic. This project will create a usable compost product, prolong the existing landfill life and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Comox Valley

  • Regional organic composting facility additional capacity: $484,815
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 37,489
  • This project, led by theComox Valley Regional District, means the communities of Campbell River, Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland will be able to compost an extra 1,625 tonnes of food waste per year, supporting the regional district’s waste diversion target of 70% by 2022.

East Kootenay

  • There are three projects being funded in the Regional District of East Kootenay that work together to support a regional system. These projects are in the Columbia Valley, Elk Valley and central subregions, providing coverage throughout the region.
  • East Kootenay regionally integrated resource recovery network: Columbia Valley site: $333,160
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 25,442
  • East Kootenay regionally integrated resource recovery network: central sub-region site: $333,160
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 13,539
  • East Kootenay regionally integrated resource recovery network: Elk Valley site: $333,160
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 42,563

Kootenay Boundary

  • Regional District of Kootenay Boundary organics diversion expansion project: $1,182,006
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 2,873
  • This project will expand the regional district’s organics processing capacity to include food-waste materials from the industrial, commercial and institutional sector throughout the Boundary region and initiate food-waste collection for residents of Greenwood. This expanded facility will primarily process food waste, wood, yard and garden waste from the City of Grand Forks.

Northern Rockies

  • Northern Rockies vermicomposting(worm) facility: $222,546
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 2,273
  • This project will divert organic waste from Fort Nelson’s landfill through a vermicomposting facility; red wiggler worms work with fungi, bacteria and other invertebrates to transform organic matter into “castings,” which can be used in municipal landscaping or residential gardening.

Okanagan-Similkameen

  • Oliver landfill residential food waste compost facility: $400,000
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 4,014
  • This project, led by the regional district, provides the Oliver and Osoyoos landfill service areas with a new composting facility that will process residential food waste, agricultural waste and yard waste. This project is part of a larger regional strategy to manage organic wastes in the regional district. 

Summerland

  • Summerland organics processing facility: $790,500
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 24,548
  • The District of Summerland will benefit from the relocated organics processing site as the move will increase capacity, upgrade operational and environmental technology and create high-quality Class A compost streams. The project will divert additional organic waste, preventing it from being landfilled and, therefore, reduce greenhouse gases, while prolonging the existing landfill life.

Canada-based Fund created for investing in Cleantech Start-ups

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To support the development of cleantech companies, four Québec-based institutions are investing US$29 million in the new US$156.5 million Spring Lane Capital Fund I. With their investments, BDC Capital (US$15 million), Fonds de solidarité FTQ (US$7.5 million), Fondaction (US$3.5 million) and Palomino Capital (US$3 million) are looking to finance the start-up and post-start-up phases of cleantech companies, essential actors in the field of sustainable development.

“BDC Capital is pleased to support the launch of Spring Lane’s inaugural fund,” said Alison Nankivell, Vice President, Fund Investments and Global Scaling. “We believe the Spring Lane’s combination of project finance and growth equity for small scale environmental projects will help address a genuine funding gap in the financing chain for cleantech companies.”

“With its innovative and pioneering model, Spring Lane Capital is addressing the main challenge faced by the cleantech sector when it comes to start-up and post-start-up financing. The Fonds de solidarité FTQ’s investment will further help the development of clean technologies right here in Québec,” adds Dany Pelletier, the Fonds’ Vice-President for Investments, Strategic Capital, Energy, Environment and Mines.  

“The model that Spring Lane Capital proposes will enable local companies that are developing innovative technologies to access capital and develop their markets in areas in line with our objectives of sustainable development and the fight against climate change. Furthermore, its expertise in project financing makes it an interesting model for expediting the positive shift in our economy,” continues Marc-André Binette, Deputy Chief Investment Officer at Fondaction.

“We are very happy to support cleantech companies, both locally in Québec and abroad, as they benefit from Spring Lane’s innovative financing model to help grow their business,” declares Gary Alexander, CEO of Palomino Capital.

About BDC Capital
BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC- Canada’s only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. With over $3 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers a full spectrum of risk capital, from seed investments to transition capital, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who wish to scale their businesses into global champions. Visit bdc.ca/capital.

About the Fonds de solidarité FTQ
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a development capital investment fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments. As at May 31, 2019, the organization had $15.6 billion in net assets, and through its current portfolio of investments supports 215,104 jobs. The Fonds is a partner in 3,126 companies and today has more than 700,000 shareholder-savers.

About Fondaction
Fondaction distinguishes itself through its investments, which are aimed at supporting, promoting and encouraging sustainable development. It manages assets in excess of $2 billion collected as retirement savings from more than 170,000 shareholders.
Fondaction supports the development of more than 1,200 SMEs, many of which are social economy enterprises. It helps create and maintain jobs and reduce inequalities, and contributes to the fight against climate change. Fondaction reduced the carbon footprint of its equity market investments by 51% between 2015 and 2018. For more information, go to fondaction.com or visit our LinkedIn page.

About Palomino Capital
Palomino Capital Corp. is a Montreal-based family office. We deploy proprietary capital across a broad spectrum of asset classes including alternative asset managers, bespoke private credit facilities, direct private equity and real estate.

U.S. Business Opportunity: Government Research Funding for waste-related R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced over $79 million (USD) in funding for bioenergy research and development including biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. This funding supports DOE’s goal of providing consumers and businesses with a range of domestic energy options that are affordable, reliable, and secure.    

There are a number of topics areas for this funding related to waste management including the following:

  1. Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Wastes: Support academic research and educational programs that focus on strategies to produce bioenergy and bioproducts from urban and suburban waste feedstocks.
  2. Plastics in the Circular Carbon Economy: Develop biobased plastics with improved performance and recyclability and lower the cost and energy-intensity of recycling  existing plastics through enhanced degradation.
  3. Rethinking Anaerobic Digestion: Develop anaerobic processes or alternative strategies to enhance carbon conversion efficiency and lower costs of smaller scale wet waste systems.
  4. Reducing Water, Energy, and Emissions in Bioenergy: Identify biofuels or bioproducts technologies with the greatest potential for reducing water consumption, energy consumption, and/or emissions relative to existing conventional fuels or products.

For more information, read the full Funding Opportunity Announcement, visit the U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Exchange website.

NGIF’s $1.5 Million Cleantech Competition

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The Natural Gas Innovation Fund™ (NGIF) recently announced a $1.5 million funding call to advance cleantech solutions in three strategic focus areas – energy efficiency; renewable gases (including renewable natural gas and hydrogen); and carbon capture – for natural gas distribution and end use industry in Canada.

NGIF is accepting submissions to its intake stage for funding requests to support new technologies and innovative approaches in the above three identified focus areas. We will make up to $300,000 in non-dilutive funding available per project in Canada, representing as much as 33 per cent of a project’s eligible expenses. The competition is open for small to medium enterprises and technology development start-ups in Canada and globally.

Interested applicants should download the Applicant’s Guide online and submit their investor deck at [email protected] by June 17, 2019. More information on the Natural Gas Innovation Fund and how to apply can be found at www.ngif.ca.

The Natural Gas Innovation Fund™ (NGIF) was created by the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) to support the funding of cleantech innovation in the natural gas value chain. It seeks to fill a technology development gap in the sector and invest in innovation enabling natural gas solutions for current and emerging challenges facing Canada’s energy system.

The existing portfolio of companies that have received NFIG funding include iGen Technologies, CHAR TECH Solutions, and NextGrid.

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.



Farm Boy Grocery to test on-site organic treatment system

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Farm Boy Grocery is partnering with Food Cycle Science on a project that will test an on-site organic food waste mechanical/drying system.  As a way to extract lost value from waste, this project will show how a small footprint, on-site system can process organic food waste at grocery retailers to reduce handling, storage and transportation costs – while producing an end-product with beneficial nutrient and fertilizer properties.

Food Cycle Science is an Ottawa-based clean-tech start-up company that was incorporated in 2011.  It claims that its FoodCycler unit is capable of reducing food scraps by 90%, while converting the remaining 10% in a soil amendment.  It also claims that its system is odorless, silent, and energy efficient.

When in operation, the enclosed system first agitates the food waste, breaking it down into small particles.  While it is being agitated, it is also heated, partially decomposing and sterilizing the by-product entirely. The carbon filter filtration system on the unit is used for odour control.  The FoodCycler process takes anywhere from 2-6 hours for the process to completely dehydrate the food waste.

The form of the by-product that is generated from the process varies depending on the type of food waste being processed. Fish or cooked vegetables appear as fine powder form, and uncooked vegetables appear in a small cereal-like form. Cake, rice, and starches will have a thicker, chunkier texture.

Home-size Food Cycle Unit

The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences undertook an initial characterization of the physical, chemical and biological properties of the organic material produced by the FoodCycler unit located at the Cornwall Community Hospital. The preliminary results indicated that the FoodCycler material met most of the requirements for metals, pathogens and maturity for AA compost in Ontario.

Partial funding for the project is provided through the BLOOM Centre’s Clean Technology Demonstration Program.  Under Bloom Centre program, demonstrations consist of unique collaborative projects involving both a cleantech solution provider and an end-use customer ‘host’ who is representative of the broader sector. In addition, each project includes other strategic partners to support the roll-out and market adoption of the low-carbon cleantech solution following completion of the demonstration.

The outcomes and results of the demonstration project will be used to:

  • Inform stakeholders in the food supply industry that viable cleantech and low carbon solutions are commercially available;
  • Reduce the perceived environmental, economic, and business risks of adopting cleantech solutions;
  • Bridge the ‘adoption gap’ and increase the market demand for cleantech solutions; and
  • Quantify the economic, GHG emission reduction and other environmental and societal benefits from the widespread adoption of cleantech solutions in Ontario.

This is not the first foray into food recycling by Farm Boy Grocery.  In 2017, the company partnered with a company that developed a mobile app, Flashfood, meant to help tackle the enormous environmental issue of food waste, while offering discerning consumers savings on products they would purchase anyway.  It’s the first and only app focused on reducing that food waste by partnering with grocers to sell surplus items at reduced prices.

The Flashfood app allows for grocery stores to post their high-quality, surplus grocery items like prepared meals, breads and dairy before they end up as food waste. As they near their best-before date, Flashfood lists the products at lower prices for them to be purchased instead of thrown out to landfills. Savvy shoppers can buy items through the app and pick them up in store at great prices.

The Farm Boy demonstration project is scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2019.