Walker Environmental, a division of Walker Industries, is a company that recovers resources and manages waste. Walker Industries is a fifth-generation family owned business that has been operating at its head office campus in Niagara Falls since 1887. Walker Environmental is Canada’s largest organics processor focused on compost, manufacturing and distributing mulches and topsoil and diverting materials that would otherwise become a waste.
Walker Environmental also owns the largest private landfill in Ontario, the South Landfill in Thorold just outside of Niagara Falls. In recent months they have announced two major projects related to the recovery and beneficial reuse of biogas from the South Landfill. Both projects are led by Integrated Gas Recovery Services (IGRS), a 19-year-old 50/50 partnership between Walker and Comcor Environmental. IGRS is currently Canada’s largest landfill gas (LFG) utilization company with over 30 MW of electricity equivalent managed at 6 different LFG facilities.
On August 31, 2020, General Motors of Canada (GM) unveiled a $28-million cogeneration project at its St. Catharines operation that uses LFG from the South Landfill to generate 6.4MW of electricity. LFG travels through a 3.5 km pipeline to supply four Caterpillar 1.6MW engines. The electricity provides 35 percent of the plant’s energy needs and the heat generated will be used to heat the domestic hot water supply for the buildings making the GM plant in St. Catharines the greenest propulsion facility in their global fleet. Using LFG instead of natural gas to run the engines reduces the carbon footprint by 77 percent.
The 20-year supply contract to GM only uses a portion of the LFG available from the Walker Environmental landfill which will continue to produce meaningful volumes of gas for years beyond this, leaving significant potential for further beneficial uses of the captured gas.
On October 7, 2020, Walker Environmental, Comcor Environmental and Enbridge Gas joined Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy to announce construction of a $42 million Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) plant at their landfill. The RNG Facility will be the largest of its kind in Ontario generating 950,000 GJ of RNG annually. The RNG generated from LFG is enough to heat 8,750 homes and will reduce GHG emissions by 48,000 tonnes.
On the outlook for RNG in Canada, Graham Guest, General Manager of Energy & Technical Services at Walker Environment, comments that he sees a lot of potential growth in the RNG market but it’s important for industry to share lessons learned to develop a deep base of knowledge and best practices so all future RNG projects can be successful. Mr. Guest also emphasized a need for more direction from both federal and provincial governments through policy that would provide a strong signal to industry for market growth and stability.
Walker Environmental is a long-time member of the Canadian Biogas Association having joined in 2010. They are committed to help the RNG market grow, share their knowledge to help develop the industry and provide meaningful input that helps inform policy.