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Food scraps: fuelling the future

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by Jasmine DeMarcos
December 6, 2016

Renewable Natural Gas



Imagine this: you’re at home, diligently putting your stale pizza into your organic waste bin. Along comes the green waste collection truck to pick up your food scraps.

Now the truck takes your organic waste and delivers it to a processing facility, where it’s turned into biogas. It’s further refined to become Renewable Natural Gas and injected into FortisBC’s natural gas system, for use by all customers. This means FortisBC buys less natural gas from conventional sources.

Renewable Natural Gas is a sustainable, locally made, carbon neutral energy. And it can be used to heat homes and businesses, and to fuel vehicles—like waste collection trucks.

Guess what? It’s happening. We’re doing it.

The truck that picks up your stale pizza will actually run on fuel made from your old food scraps.

“It’s not quite like Back to the Future, when Doc Brown was fuelling the DeLorean time machine by putting banana peels into the vehicle,” says Colton Aston, a FortisBC energy solutions manager working on Renewable Natural Gas projects.

“There’s a lot of processing and refining needed for the food scraps to become high-quality natural gas. But yes, the City of Surrey is going to be producing Renewable Natural Gas with their organic waste, and they’ll also be a Renewable Natural Gas customer.”

That’s called a ‘closed loop’, and the City of Surrey is working with FortisBC to make this vision a reality in 2017

The City’s goal is to produce 120,000 gigajoules (GJ) of Renewable Natural Gas per year, which will be injected into FortisBC’s system. At the same time, their CNG-fuelled curbside waste collection fleet—and other innovative projects planned for the future—will use Renewable Natural Gas.

“The City of Surrey was one of the first municipalities to use CNG to fuel their green waste hauling fleet, which significantly reduced their greenhouse gas emissions,” says Colton. “Now they’re taking green innovation to the next level by building a facility to convert organic waste into Renewable Natural Gas—creating local, sustainable energy and further lowering their overall greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Surrey Biofuel Facility is currently under construction near the Golden Ears Bridge, and will be operational in early 2017.

“We’re thrilled to be part of this initiative,” Colton says. “We really wanted to help the City of Surrey bring their vision to life, so we got creative and worked hard to adapt our model for their needs.

“It’s a real customer service success story, and it’s great to be part of something so visionary that touches so many people. The entire city of Surrey will be helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, just by separating their food scraps from their garbage.”

That’s right: you and your stale pizza are helping to make the world a greener place.

That’s energy at work.

Read about our other biogas suppliers, and watch our video to find out how Renewable Natural Gas is made right here in BC.