Officially formed in 2018, REN Energy International Corp. (REN Energy) is a clean energy solutions provider that has developed an innovative wood waste to renewable natural gas (RNG) technology system. REN Energy is led by President Philip Viggiani, entrepreneur and certified risk management specialist, who assembled a team consisting of experts in finance, business development, technology and engineering to combine several proven technologies to produce renewable fuels from waste.
REN Energy’s first product, the REN Solution™, is a system to produce RNG from the biomass waste generated in the forestry and lumber industry. Their system uses established, reputable technologies gathered from a global technology search across industries and applications. The REN Solution™ is a combination of technologies, starting with the generation of syngas and finishing with the production of pipeline quality RNG. The resulting RNG product is identical to fossil natural gas and can be injected into the natural gas pipeline.
A press release on April 30, 2020 announced that REN Energy has partnered with FortisBC to offer RNG made from wood waste to its customers. The production facility will be owned and operated by REN Energy and located near Fruitvale, British Columbia. The project marks the first time this technology has been commercially applied at this scale in North America and is expected to be in service between late 2021 and Q1 2022. The project is anticipated to produce over one million GJ of RNG annually from approximately 100,000 tonnes of woody biomass.
The project will provide several environmental and economic benefits. In addition to offsetting fossil fuels, using wood waste will assist the forestry industry with cleaning up bush residuals to assist in mitigating forest fires. The project will benefit the local economy by providing approximately 20-25 direct jobs and 60-70 indirect jobs. Viggiani notes that the response to the press release has been incredibly positive “Since the press release, we have engaged the citizens, media, and politicians and there has been lots of anticipation and curiosity from the Kootenay region. We look forward to having an open house when it is safe to do so.”
As for the outlook for RNG, Viggiani says “We see a massive future for RNG in Canada. The growth of RNG in the last 5 years has been a quiet storm, certainly in British Columbia with the convergence of the maturity of RNG technology, financial viability, and government clean air mandates along with the utilities’ push to get RNG out there as an alternative to fossil fuels.”
REN Energy joined the Canadian Biogas Association (CBA) as members in December 2018 to connect with peers in the industry and get the landscape of the sector. Viggiani shares “Many formidable people in the industry are CBA members and we wanted to connect with them, share wisdom, and share in the celebration.”