A renewable natural gas (RNG) facility is currently being constructed near Blenheim, Ontario, southwest of London. This facility will convert unpleasant odors from decomposing organic waste, such as food and paper, into green energy.
Waste Connections of Canada will own the facility. Meanwhile, Enbridge Gas will own and operate the necessary infrastructure to transport the renewable energy into the natural gas system.
The decomposing organic waste at the landfill site produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. This methane will be collected, purified, and transformed into RNG. As a result, the Blenheim project will remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and produce energy simultaneously.
Enbridge Gas will transport this gas through their pipeline system to an injection point 5.7 km away in Blenheim, where it will be added to the regular natural gas supply.
Construction of the facility started in July. The landfill is projected to be operational by the end of summer 2024.
CBC reports that the facility will generate enough RNG to power 40,000 homes annually for the next 20 years.
Furthermore, the production of natural gas from organic waste will not result in higher energy bills for consumers. RNG is indistinguishable from traditional natural gas.
Several similar projects across the province aim to convert landfills into power plants in order to create RNG. By using waste as a renewable energy source, Ontario can reduce its environmental impact while making a positive contribution to the energy sector.
The provincial government had previously made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% between 2005 and 2030. In order to achieve this objective, the province needs to decrease annual emissions to 144 megatons.
In a recent study, Environment and Climate Change Canada found that Ontario generated 150.6 megatons of greenhouse gases in 2021.
According to Nicole Brunner, an energy manager at Enbridge Gas, the Blenheim facility will reduce emissions by approximately 110,000 tons per year. This is equivalent to removing 24,000 gasoline cars from circulation each year.
Canada’s RNG industry
As Ontario turns landfills into clean energy production hubs, Canadians are finally awakening to the massive potential of RNG.
As of 2021, RNG only accounted for 0.36% of the natural gas produced in Canada and 0.11% of the country’s overall energy production. A 2021 study found that Canada is only producing 14% of its annual RNG potential.
Currently, there are over 270 operational RNG facilities in Canada. This number will continue growing in the years ahead.
A proposed RNG project in Watford (also in Southwestern Ontario) could power 35,000 buildings per year once operational.
Image Source: CBC, https://shorturl.at/bEV19