Toronto, Canada’s largest city and listed amongst the top ten largest cities in North America by population, is a leader in solid waste management. Continuing that theme of responsible city management, Toronto has collaborated with Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. to build one of the first renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities in Canada which will generate fuel for the city’s waste management fleet. Toronto’s more than 600 vehicles collect waste from approximately 1.6 million garbage, Blue Bins and Green Bins.
The RNG facility, located at the Dufferin Organics Processing Facility, will be constructed by Enbridge Gas Distribution and the City of Toronto to turn organic waste (apple cores, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.) into clean energy. Almost 50 per cent of household waste (by weight) is organic material. When organic waste breaks down, methane is created. Many municipalities burn the methane produced from waste facilities and sewage treatment plants, throwing away this valuable energy resource and opportunity to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, through this facility, the methane can be captured, cleaned and used like traditional natural gas. It is carbon neutral, and has the same environmental benefits as renewable electricity.
Expected to be complete in 2019, the project supports the City’s vision of using Toronto’s organic waste to offset greenhouse gas emissions. As an added benefit, the newly created carbon-neutral, renewable natural gas will be injected into the natural gas distribution system to fuel the very trucks that picked up the Green Bin waste. Anaerobic digestion expansion at Dufferin will allow 90% of organics to be turned into biogas for subsequent processing to produce biomethane/RNG fuel.
“We all agree that we must have cleaner or lower carbon energy options to heat our homes and move our vehicles,” said Cynthia Hansen, Executive Vice President, Utilities and Power Operations, Enbridge Inc. “While traditional natural gas is the cleanest-burning conventional fuel, RNG is the first step in ‘greening’ the natural gas system. I commend Mayor Tory and the City of Toronto for their vision and commitment and we look forward to additional opportunities to partner with and support the City.”
Mayor John Tory added: “This project represents a path to low-carbon fuel for the City and will play an important role in helping us reach our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The City remains committed to its climate change action goals and to creating a more sustainable Toronto. By working with Enbridge we are able to move positive projects like this forward to the benefit of our residents and the environment.”
Toronto’s RNG Profile
- Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a type of green gas. It is a carbon‐neutral, sustainable fuel that is created from decomposing organic waste.
- From a greenhouse gas emissions perspective, RNG demonstrates tremendous benefits. Methane that otherwise would have entered directly into the atmosphere is transformed into RNG. The Ontario Ministry of Energy (Fuels Technical Report) believes that RNG can replace up to 15 per cent of Ontario’s conventional natural gas supply by 2035.
- Converting fleets, public transit, and heavy-duty vehicles from diesel to natural gas will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15 per cent and save up to 40 per cent on fuel costs. Further, vehicles running on RNG are considered net neutral (with respect to emissions.)
- Ontario is ready: a survey commissioned by Enbridge reveals that 75% of customers would support the introduction of RNG into the natural gas system.*
- Enbridge and the City of Toronto estimate that more than 5 million cubic metres of RNG could be produced each year at this facility. That’s enough to fuel 132 garbage trucks, 90% of the City’s fleet (or heat more than 2,000 homes).
The Dufferin facility was North America’s first full-scale municipal source-separated organics processing facility to use anaerobic digestion. By utilizing anaerobic digestion, the City is able to divert more waste from landfill disposal, generate and collect biogas as a recoverable resource and supply digested nutrient-rich material for commercial compost.
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. is Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company and is owned by Enbridge Inc., a Canadian-based leader in energy transportation and distribution.
Source: Enbridge Gas Distribution and City of Toronto
Related article: RNG Increase Likely for Canadian Transportation