Organic Materials: Maximizing Resource Recovery from Waste Through Biogas and RNG Production

The Canadian Biogas Association, City of London and Union Gas worked together to assess the economic feasibility and environmental benefits of producing biogas by anaerobically digesting the organic fraction of the City of London’s (City) residential waste stream, and subsequently converting the biogas to renewable natural gas (RNG) for use in compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.

This work as part of the City's investigation of options for the management of the organic fraction of its residential waste. In this report, two scenarios are considered: collecting and anaerobically digesting source separated organic (SSO) materials or anaerobically digesting organic materials separated from a mixed waste stream at a processing facility (facility-separated organics (FSO)).

This study includes quantitative estimates of the costs of anaerobic digestion (AD) systems for the organic fraction of residential waste, of the quantities of biogas and RNG that can be generated, and of the net cost savings of replacing the City’s waste collection fleet with CNG vehicles, fuelled by RNG. This report also estimates the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction expected to result from the replacement of diesel with RNG as a fleet vehicle fuel.

It should be noted that municipalities have unique characteristics, such as population, available organic sources, and location and transportation factors. On this basis, it is strongly recommended that municipalities consider site-specific inputs when determining RNG cost estimates and volumes.

This initiative was made possible in part by financial support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The overall work is a contribution under the London Waste to Resources Innovation Centre, an initiative designed to maximize resource recovery and create value added products from waste feedstocks.