Sign In

Making a difference

 

 How does it work?

 

 

Farms, landfills and other suppliers like the City of Surrey have teamed up with us to capture methane (CH4) from decomposing organic waste, which would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. This methane, also known as biogas, is purified to make Renewable Natural Gas.

Renewable Natural Gas is interchangeable with conventional natural gas. It’s injected into our natural gas distribution system, displacing conventional natural gas.

Eligible customers have the option of designating five, 10, 25, 50 or 100 per cent of their natural gas use as RNG. FortisBC will then inject an equivalent amount of RNG into the FortisBC distribution system. This displaces fossil fuel natural gas that otherwise would have been brought into the system.  

How we make Renewable Natural Gas

Do you know that humans produce waste which creates methane that goes into the atmosphere? Learn how we capture it, clean it, and use it for energy.


Biogas sources and production

There are three broad categories of biogas sources:

  • wastewater treatment plants
  • agricultural waste or other organic waste
  • landfills

In each case, the basic process of biogas production is the same:

  1. Naturally-occurring bacteria break down organic matter, or biomass, in the absence of oxygen. This process is called anaerobic digestion.
  2. The bacteria produce methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) as a natural byproduct of breaking down the organic matter.
  3. The raw biogas, which contains methane and other compounds, can be captured when the waste is concentrated in one location, like a digester tank.
  4. Once collected, it can be purified (or upgraded) into pipeline-quality biomethane—producing Renewable Natural Gas.

Once it becomes Renewable Natural Gas, it’s injected into FortisBC’s existing pipeline system and delivered to our customers, just like conventional natural gas.

The process of upgrading biogas into Renewable Natural Gas

Composed primarily of methane, biogas also contains between 25 and 50 per cent CO2 and small quantities of other gases. These gases are removed using filtration, venting or recycling systems in the upgrading process to improve the heating value and safety of Renewable Natural Gas.

The upgrading process may vary from project to project, but the goal is to ensure the gas introduced into the system meets the same quality standards as conventional natural gas.

  1. The first step is to remove contaminant gases through a careful gas cleaning process that leaves only CO2.
  2. The CO2, which lowers the heating value of the gas, can then be removed using well-proven gas processing technology that has been used around the world. In fact, a made-in-BC technology called pressure swing adsorption (PSA) is used in Salmon Arm to perform the final cleaning step.
  3. Once the gas has been cleaned, only methane remains along with a small amount of nitrogen, making it almost impossible to distinguish from conventional natural gas. This purified, or upgraded, biogas that’s free from undesirable contaminants is called biomethane – also known as Renewable Natural Gas.

 

*Renewable Natural Gas is produced in a different manner than conventional natural gas. It is derived from biogas, which is produced from decomposing organic waste from landfills, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. The biogas is captured and cleaned to create carbon neutral Renewable Natural Gas (also called biomethane).​​

 

 Putting waste to work

 

 

Seabreeze Dairy Farm in Delta, and Fraser Valley Biogas in Abbotsford, are two of our suppliers using local waste to create Renewable Natural Gas. Check out our supplier stories.

​How many pounds of waste will you divert from landfills?

Use our calculator to find out what your impact will be each year, if you sign up for Renewable Natural Gas. 

Calculate your contribution 





1Renewable Natural Gas is produced in a different manner than conventional natural gas. It is derived from biogas, which is produced from decomposing organic waste from landfills, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. The biogas is captured and cleaned to create carbon neutral Renewable Natural Gas (also called biomethane).

2Based on an average residential customer using 90 gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas per year, signing up for a 5 per cent blend of Renewable Natural Gas, for a total of approximately 168.61 pounds of waste diverted from landfills.

3As of December 31, 2016, our customers have created a cumulative demand of approximately 540,000 gigajoules of Renewable Natural Gas which is equivalent to approximately 26,892 avoided tonnes of CO2 or 8,534 tonnes of waste recycled instead of landfilled. (540,000 * 0.0498 tonnes C02e = 26,892) https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

 

 Environmental benefits

 

  

The facts about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

  • Renewable Natural Gas helps reduce GHG emissions by reducing the amount of conventional natural gas needed.
  • Additionally, emissions are reduced when methane (CH4) is captured and re-purposed as Renewable Natural Gas, rather than being released directly into the atmosphere.

The facts about carbon neutrality

  • Renewable Natural Gas is a carbon neutral energy source, because it does not contribute any net carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.3
  • The combustion of Renewable Natural Gas releases biogenic carbon dioxide, which does not add to the natural carbon cycle.4

Independent verification

Offsetters, Canada’s leading carbon management solutions provider, independently reviewed FortisBC’s Renewable Natural Gas offering. Offsetters assessed the expected lifecycle emissions savings of Renewable Natural Gas and confirmed that Renewable Natural Gas meets the requirements to be granted Offsetters’ Carbon Neutral Product status in BC.

For more information, read Offsetters’ Biomethane Greenhouse Gas Emissions Review for FortisBC.

Additionally, the BC government considers biomethane from organic waste (including agriculture, landfill or wastewater sources) to be a carbon neutral fuel source.3


Certified carbon neutral
FortisBC’s Renewable Natural Gas has been designated as carbon neutral in BC by Offsetters.

 

1Renewable Natural Gas displaces fossil fuel natural gas that has a carbon intensity of 50 kgCO2e/GJ (equivalent carbon dioxide). Based on an average residential natural gas consumption of 90 GJ/year, 10 per cent Renewable Natural Gas = 9 GJ. 9 GJ x 0.05 = 0.45 tonne CO2 reduction.
2As of December 31, 2016, our customers have created a cumulative demand of approximately 540,000 gigajoules of Renewable Natural Gas which is equivalent to 26,892 avoided tonnes of CO2 or 8,534 tonnes of waste recycled instead of landfilled. (540,000 * 0.0498 tonnes C02e = 26,892) 26,892 tonnes of CO2 emissions is equivalent to the emissions of 5,680 passenger vehicles driven for one year. https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator
 
 

 Other benefits

 

 

​Helping provide a closed loop for our suppliers

The Renewable Natural Gas program creates multiple benefits for our suppliers:

  • As a result of the anaerobic digestion process used to create Renewable Natural Gas, farms and sewage treatment plants may be able to produce byproducts that can be used as organic fertilizer, mulch, or hygienic bedding material for livestock.
  • Local farmers may become less reliant on chemical fertilizers, because these nutrient-rich byproducts can replace or minimize the use of chemical fertilizers.
 

 Safety

 

​Sure it’s clean, but is it safe?

In co-operation with other major gas utilities, FortisBC carried out a study to determine if Renewable Natural Gas was a safe alternative to conventional natural gas:

  • Multiple gas sources were examined in numerous locations around North America and compared with conventional natural gas.
  • Study results showed that upgraded biomethane (Renewable Natural Gas) is interchangeable with natural gas.
  • This means customers won’t see any difference in the quality of gas provided. You can rest easy that it meets the same safety standards as conventional natural gas.