Biogas offers Canadians a solution to helping protect our environment and meet ambitious climate change commitments. All of these critical functions – generating renewable energy, reducing solid wastes, managing nutrients, reducing GHGs and mitigating pollution risks – can be realized from a biogas facility in an economically sound and sustainable manner.
The capturing and utilization of biogas is a powerful tool for reducing GHGs that are the principle cause of human-induced climate change. GHGs are reduced in two ways: first, the biogas produced is a source of renewable energy that can replace fossil fuels. Second, the capturing of biogas reduces methane, a very potent greenhouse gas that would otherwise be free to escape into the atmosphere. Biogas has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 37.5 Mt CO2e, or 10% of the national target.
Biogas reduces two critically important greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced when biogas replaces fossil fuel use (i.e., coal, diesel or natural gas). This can be in the form of direct displacement in the pipeline by injecting RNG into the natural gas supply, or in transportation by replacing diesel with RNG. In addition to displacement, the biogas process is able to capture upstream methane emissions and convert it to renewable energy. Methane abatement strategies are critically important in agriculture for manure management, as well as at municipal landfills that flare their captured gas. There are multiple ways in which biogas can reduce methane emissions or displace other higher carbon intensive fuels with a lower-carbon solution.
Biogas offers a solution to waste management that ensures valuable organic material is not sent to landfill. The benefits resulting from diversion of organic materials, include the following:
An additional societal and political benefit of organic material diversion includes preserving landfill space for “real” waste. For biogas system operators, these materials are essential for fueling their biogas systems and producing clean, green energy.
Biogas offers important environmental benefits and improvements to our air and water sources. As materials such as animal manures or food wastes are processed in biogas systems, the pathogens are significantly reduced, and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous are made more available to plants. Biogas removes odour-causing compounds, specifically methane, and enables greater environmental stewardship and neighbourly relations in communities.