Closing the Loop


Closing the Loop is a collaborative initiative of the Canadian Biogas Association, and supported by the partners outlined below. It involves working with municipalities, food processors and their energy and waste partners (i.e., waste haulers and energy utilities) to close the loop on organic materials by diverting these materials from landfill, and using them to generate biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG). The project promotes RNG as a vehicle fuel as a way to close the loop on diverting organic material. 
Closing the Loop builds on the visionary work of leading municipalities that have a sustainability focus and are moving to reduce emissions and transportation costs, while recycling organic material. Through a range of activities listed below, the initiative raises awareness and prompts action through making connections.

  • One-to-one engagement with municipalities, food processors and waste haulers. The Canadian Biogas Association is reaching out to these stakeholders, highlighting case studies of biogas production and utilization, developing the business case, and inviting municipalities, food processors and waste haulers to close the loop on diverting organic material.
  • Provision Coalition hosted a food waste workshop in April 2015, and biogas facilities were cited as the preferred option for waste material that could not be reused in the agriculture and food production sectors.
  • Natural Resources Canada and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs have teamed up to promote energy efficiency in the food sector. Industry leaders heard about the Closing the Loop initiative first-hand at their May 2015 meeting in Guelph.

    • Saputo, Son’s Bakery, and others sought out additional information on diverting their food waste to AD facilities

 

Closing the Loop: Primer for Municipalities, Food Processors and Fleets on Fueling Vehicles Using Renewable Natural Gas

This comprehensive primer shows you how your organization can close the loop. It helps identify if compressed natural gas (CNG) and RNG are right for you, outlines how RNG fits with municipal planning and policy development, and highlights case studies and lessons learned. It outlines the business case, steps to success, and helps you build support for switching to this amazing renewable fuel.

Municipalities

Municipalities are switching their waste and transit fleets, and procurement requirements, to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles due to lower natural gas prices and improved CNG vehicle technology. Municipalities prefer CNG to diesel because of the lower cost and greenhouse gas emissions. Blending in 10% RNG further reduces emissions, and costs only an additional 5 cents per diesel litre equivalent.

This makes a CNG/RNG blend cost effective at about half the price of diesel. Municipalities can also generate RNG from their own operations. Biogas from source separated organics (SSO) treatment, wastewater treatment, or landfill gas can be upgraded to RNG. Incentives are available.

Important industry trends:

  • At the City of Surrey, BC, organic material will be processed at a facility and converted to RNG to fuel 100% of the energy needed for the waste fleet. The business case was built comparing RNG to diesel prices and the facility will be a public-private partnership.
  • In southwest Ontario, the Rural Green Energy Project is in development and will generate RNG, blend it with CNG, and sell it as a vehicle fuel to local farms, businesses and other customers.
  • In Hamilton, ON, biogas from the wastewater facility is upgraded to RNG and injected into the Union Gas pipeline.
  • In December 2014, Waste Management will begin using RNG from its landfill in Fairmont City, Illinois to fuel its waste trucks. “This innovative facility utilizes renewable landfill gas, and purifies it to a high-quality natural gas that in turn feeds into the adjacent pipeline to fuel our growing fleet of CNG trucks,” says Jim Trevathan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Waste Management.
  • Entrepreneurs at Atlas Disposal teamed up with Clean Energy Fuels, and currently provide RNG to Atlas’s own waste fleet, and to the City of Sacremento’s waste fleet.
  • “Redeem” is a branded RNG fuel by Clean Energy Fuels that is available across the US to natural gas vehicle fleets including heavy-duty trucks, refuse trucks, airport shuttles, taxis, and buses.

 

What You Can Do:

Consider blending CNG and RNG for your municipal fleets. Add a RNG incentive in your procurement. This cost- effective move will result in improved environmental performance, create green jobs, and support local energy security. To find out more about how your municipality can close the loop on municipal waste, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Waste Haulers

Waste haulers are increasingly switching to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles due to lower natural gas prices and improved CNG vehicle technology. Municipalities prefer CNG to diesel because of the lower cost and greenhouse gas emissions. Blending in 10% RNG further reduces emissions, and costs only an additional 5 cents per diesel litre equivalent.

This makes a CNG/RNG blend cost effective at about half the price of diesel. Action is being taken by private industry, and by leading municipalities.

Important industry trends:

  • In December 2014, Waste Management will begin using RNG from its landfill in Fairmont City, Illinois to fuel its waste trucks. “This innovative facility utilizes renewable landfill gas, and purifies it to a high-quality natural gas that in turn feeds into the adjacent pipeline to fuel our growing fleet of CNG trucks,” says Jim Trevathan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Waste Management.
  • At the City of Surrey, BC, organic material will be processed at a facility and converted to RNG to fuel 100% of the energy needed for the waste fleet. The business case was built comparing RNG to diesel prices and the facility will be a public-private partnership.
  • Entrepreneurs at Atlas Disposal teamed up with Clean Energy Fuels, and currently provide RNG to Atlas’s own waste fleet, and to the City of Sacremento’s waste fleet.
  • “Redeem” is a branded RNG fuel by Clean Energy Fuels that is available across the US to natural gas vehicle fleets including heavy-duty trucks, refuse trucks, airport shuttles, taxis, and buses.

 

Consider blending CNG and RNG for your waste fleet to win new business and lower your environmental impact.  For information, or to get involved, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Food Processors

Food processors and their waste haulers can close the loop by diverting their organic waste outputs to anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities instead of sending them to landfill. They can also consider purchasing RNG as a vehicle fuel, or work with their waste haulers to make the switch, which closes the loop by using the outputs of food processing as an input or fuel to the waste vehicles.

First, sending material to biogas facilities is cost competitive with landfill for Ontario companies, and has a number of benefits:

  • Significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions
  • Nutrients are returned to the soil
  • Improved water quality
  • Contributes to renewable energy production, green job creation and local energy security

 

Second, food processors that have sustainability goals can consider using a blend of conventional compressed natural gas (CNG) and RNG for their trucking needs. Many fleets are making the switch to CNG to diesel because of the lower cost and 30% lower greenhouse gas emissions. Blending in 10% RNG further reduces emissions, and costs only an additional 5 cents per diesel litre equivalent.

Existing Market

“Redeem” is a branded RNG fuel by Clean Energy Fuels that is available across the US to natural gas vehicle fleets including heavy-duty trucks, refuse trucks, airport shuttles, taxis, and buses. The RNG comes from waste streams such as landfills, large dairies and sewage plants. Thousands of cars, taxis, shuttles and industrial fleets in California are now using Redeem, which is up to 90% cleaner than diesel and 100% renewable. A south-west Ontario farm-based RNG project is in development that will supply several truck fleets, including milk trucks, and could supply several more.

How Can You Close the Loop?

How do food processors make the switch and close the loop? Talk to your waste hauler about where your waste goes, and what fuels the company uses, and contact the Canadian Biogas Association at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Funders:

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
The views expressed in this report are the views of the Canadian Biogas Association and do not necessarily reflect those of the governments of Canada and Ontario.