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Calgary-based Atco Energy Solutions to use organic waste to produce RNG

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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.

Ontario and B.C. Governments Show Commitment to Expansion of Renewable Natural Gas Generation

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Ontario

The Ontario government recently announced new rules related to biogas that are designed to create new ways for farmers to expand the emerging biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG) market in the province, creating economic opportunities while maintaining the province’s strict environmental protections.

There are approximately 40 agri-food anaerobic digesters in the province; located mostly on farms.  The regulation changes will enable new on-farm biogas systems and expansion of existing systems to be approved more easily and at a lower cost to help ensure that Ontario continues to be a biogas sector leader in Canada. The changes will also help reduce GHG emissions by diverting waste from landfills and by encouraging production of RNG. The regulation changes will enable Ontario’s $35 million-a-year biogas sector to grow by up to 50 percent over the next five years.

“By reducing regulatory burden for on-farm anaerobic digesters, we can provide economic solutions to divert more valuable food and organic waste from landfills, while maintaining environmental protections by encouraging the recycling of nutrients and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re saving farm businesses time and money to allow them to grow untapped economic opportunities and take advantage of the emerging renewable natural gas market.”

Using farm waste to generate renewable natural gas is win-win for farmers and the environment: not only does it give farmers the opportunity to use materials that would otherwise go to waste, they are also able to reduce their carbon footprint,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Importantly, these changes include new requirements to better safeguard the environment and human health – helping to ensure that economic growth doesn’t come at the expense of environmental health.”

“StormFisher and the Ontario Government share a vision of an Ontario with less waste going to landfills, more clean energy being created here at home, and more jobs and investment in rural Ontario. The changes announced today regarding on-farm anaerobic digestion will help with all of these goals,” said Brandon Moffatt, Vice President of Development, StormFisher. “The agricultural industry plays a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The conversion of manure and other agricultural materials to renewable natural gas is a great step forward that will lead to significant economic development in rural Ontario and will support our farmers in diversifying their revenues.”

Changes to regulations under the Nutrient Management Act will create more opportunities for farmers to treat on-farm materials as well as other types of off-farm food and organic waste materials in on-farm regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities. This will enable an increase in on-farm production of biogas to generate renewable natural gas and will provide Ontario farmers with a new source of on-farm income.

British Columbia

British Columbia recently amended the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) to increase the production and use of renewable gas, as well as green and waste hydrogen in the province. BC is the first province in Canada to make these changes allowing for the increased production of renewable gas. The GGRR allows utilities like FortisBC and Pacific Northern Gas to make time-limited investments, within spending and volumetric caps, to stimulate the domestic market for renewable gases and reduce GHG emissions.

“A key part of our CleanBC strategy is increasing the use of hydrogen and other renewable gases in place of fossil fuels in vehicles, buildings and industry,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “The changes we’ve made to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation will provide natural gas utilities with more flexibility, stimulate investments in renewable energy and accelerate growth of hydrogen and renewable gas supply in their systems, while keeping rates affordable for their customers.”

“Changes to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation are important to accelerate the growth of B.C.’s renewable gas supply,” said Roger Dall’Antonia, president and CEO, FortisBC. “By increasing the renewable gas cap and expanding the regulation to include other renewable gases, such as hydrogen, we’re entering an exciting new phase of renewable energy development that will accelerate the transformation of our natural gas infrastructure into a delivery system for carbon-neutral energy.”

The amendment to the GGRR will enable utilities to increase the amount of RNG, green and waste hydrogen, and other renewable energy they can acquire and make available to customers, and help the province to achieve its CleanBC objectives, which commit to a 15% renewable gas content in the natural gas system by 2030.

Greenlane Renewables Secures New $8.3 million Landfill Gas upgrading Project

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Greenlane Renewables Inc. (TSXV: GRN), headquartered in British Columbia, recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Greenlane Biogas North America Ltd., has secured a new $8.3 million (US$6.3 million) biogas upgrading contract with a customer in California, whose name is being withheld at this time for confidentiality reasons. Engineering work will begin immediately on the California-based landfill project. Order fulfilment will begin immediately upon completion of permitting and approval of submittals by the customer, expected by early to mid 2020, with delivery expected to occur within approximately six months of commencement.

The facility is expected to process 1,600 standard cubic feet per minute of landfill gas to produce ~97% pure biomethane, or approximately 380,000 gigajoules (GJ) (or 360,000 million British Thermal Units (MMBTU)) annually, of clean Renewable Natural Gas (“RNG”) for direct injection into the local gas distribution network owned and operated by SoCalGas, the largest natural gas utility in the United States.  In addition, the residual off-gas, a byproduct of the biogas upgrading process, will be blended with natural gas to generate power for on-site facilities and processes. This project is designed to achieve stringent SoCalGas Rule 30 quality specifications and may be the first of its kind to work in conjunction with power generation to target 100% methane recovery. To date, there are no projects upgrading landfill gas into RNG for injection into SoCalGas’ network.

Greenlane’s Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology solution was selected for this project based on several criteria, including reliability, overall life-cycle cost, and ability to work seamlessly with other processes. Biogas upgrading is a process through which trace impurities in the biogas stream are removed and carbon dioxide is separated from methane (CH4) to produce pipeline-spec biomethane suitable for injection into the natural gas grid and for direct use as vehicle fuel.

“This project is a great opportunity to showcase Greenlane’s advanced and reliable technology,” said Brad Douville, President & CEO of Greenlane. “Our solution is targeting 100% methane capture from the landfill site. Recovered landfill methane will be upgraded and then piped directly into SoCalGas’ natural gas grid, meeting their stringent Rule 30 gas quality standards with the residual off-gas blended with natural gas for onsite power generation. This is a real win-win for the environment and generates attractive economics.”

About Greenlane Renewables
Greenlane Renewables is a provider of biogas to renewable natural gas (RNG) upgrading systems. The company has over 30 years industry experience, patented proprietary technology, and over 100 biogas upgrading units supplied into 18 countries worldwide, including the world’s largest biogas upgrading facility.

Toronto wants to power its trash trucks with food waste

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Written by Charlotte Edmond, World Economic Forum

Toronto residents’ trash will soon be powering the collection of yet more trash. The Canadian city says it wants to become one of the first in North America to convert biogas created from organic waste into fuel to power its refuse collection vehicles, generate electricity and heat homes.

The closed-loop system is set to be operational from March 2020, when the city’s food scraps and biodegradable waste will start being taken to a newly constructed anaerobic digestion facility for processing. The biogas released will be captured and converted to renewable natural gas (RNG) – and then injected into the city’s natural gas grid.

The system will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of Toronto’s waste fleet, with estimates suggesting the facility will be able to produce enough gas each year to power the majority of its collection vehicles.

Since 2010, Toronto has been gradually transitioning away from diesel-powered trucks to quieter, more environmentally friendly ones. The city has also constructed a number of RNG refuelling stations.

Once in the grid, the gas could also be used for electricity or heating.

A circular approach

Both biogas and gas created by waste in landfill can be upgraded to create RNG by removing carbon dioxide and other contaminants. The biogas produced from Toronto’s food waste is currently flared – or burnt off – which the city notes is standard industry practice, but does not take advantage of its potential as a renewable power source.

As part of its ambition to become a circular economy, Toronto hopes to create four RNG processing sites, producing gas from two of its anaerobic digestion facilities for organic waste and two of its landfill sites. Once they are up and running, the city says they will be able to produce the gas equivalent of taking 35,000 cars off the road for a year.

RNG is considered a carbon negative product, because the overall reduction in emissions from not using fossil fuels and sending organic waste to landfill outweighs the emissions from using and creating RNG.

The problem of food waste

Globally, food makes up a huge part of our waste. Around a third of all the food produced globally is never eaten.

Image: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

If food waste were a country it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. When you take into account the carbon footprint created by growing, harvesting, transporting, processing and storing food, the waste is almost equivalent to global road transport emissions.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum. This article has been republished under the permission of the World Economic Forum under their Terms of Use. It was first published on the World Economic Forum website.


BERQ RNG signs funding agreement with Suske Capital Inc.

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BERQ RNG, an Ontario-based company in the renewable natural gas sector, recently signed a funding agreement with Suske Capital Inc.. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies collaborate in the development of renewable natural gas projects.

The worldwide market for biogas expected to reach $35 billion in the next 5 years. In North America, there are only 2,000 sites producing biogas, compared to over 10,000 sites in Europe. North America has substantial future potential in the renewable natural gas space, as biogas flaring is a significant source of GHG emissions, and an opportunity exists to capture and condition this valuable resource.

BERQ RNG is positioning itself to be an important niche player in the North American RNG market. The company will have the ability to finance, design, build, and operate RNG systems.

The President and Chief Development Officers of BERQ RNG, Bas Van Berkel, has 20 years experience in developing infrastructure and energy projects including being a founder of StormFisher Environmental Ltd. He has a M.Sc. in civil engineering and a MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Suske Capital Inc. is a Canadian boutique private equity firm that invests in real estate, finance, emerging technology, alternative energy and healthcare.  Suske’s Capital’s main business is the developing and operating senior housing. The key focus of Suske Capital is value creation and the company has developed a reputation for earning industry-leading returns for its co-investment partners. The company takes an active-ownership approach by investing its own time, money and expertise to grow its portfolio companies.