On July 20, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced that the city of Toronto will begin producing renewable gas (RNG) from Green Bin organic waste and inject it into the natural gas network in the coming weeks. The announcement took place at the Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility and also included Councilor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chairman of the City’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Councilor James Pasternak (York Center) and Cynthia Hansen, Executive Vice President and President, Gas Distribution and Storage, Enbridge.
As part of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, drive economic efficiency and improve social performance, the city has explored how to exploit the green energy potential of biogas and landfill gas produced at its sites for solid waste management. The city has in partnership with Enbridge Gas Inc. installed an on-site biogas upgrade Dufferin Solid Waste Management Services. The new infrastructure enables the company to take the raw biogas produced by processing Green Bin organic matter, convert it into RNG and inject it into the natural gas network for use by the city.
According to the strategy approved by the city council last year, the RNG produced will be mixed with the natural gas that the city buys to create a low-emission fuel mixture that will be used throughout the organization to power vehicles and heat city-owned facilities, enables a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions throughout the country.
The production of RNG from biogas has the environmental benefit of closing the carbon loop by capturing the produced biogas (instead of flaring / burning it off), upgrading the biogas to RNG pipeline quality and then using it to displace a fossil fuel with a renewable green fuel.
The Dufferin RNG plant is expected to produce 3.3 million cubic meters of RNG each year. This will result in a fuel mixture that is approximately 7 percent RNG. By capturing the biogas instead of flaring / burning it off, the plant will also prevent more than 9,000 tonnes of coal being released into the atmosphere annually. The city will only start using the gas in early 2022 to ensure that production capacity is stabilized. Until then, the gas will be stored in the grid.
This project is one of the first of its kind in North America and supports the city’s TransformTO Climate Action Strategy, Net Zero Carbon Plan for Urban Buildings, Long Term Waste Management Strategy and the goal of becoming Ontario’s first city with a circular economy.
The city has also identified potential options for upgrading biogas / landfill gas at several other urban waste facilities, including the Disco Road Solid Waste Management Facility, Green Lane Landfill and Keele Valley Landfill. All the sites together have the potential to produce enough gas to supply the entire city’s natural gas needs annually (except agencies, boards and commissions). The next facility to receive RNG infrastructure is the Disco Road Solid Waste Management Facility, with plans to put the site into operation by the end of 2023.
“This project represents a path to low-emission fuel for the city and will play an important role in helping us achieve our TransformTO goal of becoming net-zero by 2050 or sooner. “Climate efforts remain a top priority for Toronto, with climate change and resilience identified as one of the focus points for the city’s restoration and reconstruction of COVID-19,” said Tory.
“Production of renewable natural gas on site Dufferin Solid Waste Management Services will strengthen the city’s position as a leader in sustainable solid waste management. By capturing and using this renewable natural gas, we will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and avoid releasing 9,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually, says Councilwoman Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), chair of the city’s infrastructure and environment committee.
“This facility is an important investment in green infrastructure. We are excited that green RNG molecules will be produced in York Center and that our very own Dufferin Organics Processing Facility will take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ”said Councilor James Pasternak (York Center).
“RNG provides a huge opportunity to cool our economy cheaper by utilizing existing energy infrastructure, while stimulating regional economic development. This initiative is a practical example of the many ways in which natural gas, which functions as part of an integrated system, can work together in a future without CO2 carbon, ”says Cynthia Hansen, Executive Vice President and President, Gas Distribution & Storage, Enbridge.
A Backgrounder with further details is available.