The City of Surrey’s biofuel facility, which was built as part of its Rethink Waste Program, is the first fully integrated closed-loop organic waste management system in North America. It processes curbside organic waste to biogas through anaerobic digestion. The resulting biogas is upgraded and delivered to FortisBC’s distribution system as renewable natural gas (RNG). Some of the gas is compressed into compressed natural gas (CNG) and used as fuel for waste collection trucks and the fleet of operation service vehicles. Another product of the system is premium quality compost that is used to grow local crops and accelerate the growth of trees, shrubs and lawns, which eventually result in more organic waste collected to feed the closed loop system.
The biofuel facility is located next to the Surrey Transfer Station and currently processes 65,000 tonnes of organic waste collected in the community. The facility is capable of processing 115,000 tonnes of organic waste per year, which will help to meet future demand. Most waste will originate from the City’s residential curbside collection program; however, some waste will also come from commercial sources and other municipalities until it reaches full capacity.
An important consideration for the project was preventing odour problems. An extensive odour mitigation system incorporated into the facility minimizes the risk of fugitive odours affecting neighbouring communities. The main feature of the system is a powerful ventilation system, which operates under negative pressure and directs 100% of the treated air out of the facility’s stack to ensure optimal dispersion.
The facility includes an Education Centre and outdoor interpretive compost garden that provides education to school groups and others who wish to learn about this innovative project. Public engagement and education was a key success factor and continues to be an important ongoing project component.
It was important to gain Council support early on in the project. Extensive research of similar facilities in Europe helped demonstrate that the technology was low risk, and a detailed business case showed that the project was feasible and cost effective for the City.
The relationship with FortisBC was important for project success and feasibility. Negotiations were extensive and eventually resulted in a positive working relationship and a 25 year agreement that suits the City’s needs.
Community-wide GHG emissions are expected to be reduced by 49,000 tonnes annually, which is equal to taking 10,000 cars off the road. This reduction will also offset the City’s corporate carbon footprint of 21,000 tonnes CO2e (in 2017) annually.
The facility was created via a public-private partnership, whereby 25% of the cost was funded by the Federal government and 75% was financed by Renewi plc. Orgaworld Canada, which is part of Renewi plc, designed and built the facility. It will also operate it on behalf of the City of Surrey for 25 years.
115,000 tonnes of organic waste are expected to be diverted from the landfill
Generate about 120,000 GJ of renewable natural gas and about 45,000 tonnes of compost each year
At least 15 full-time jobs
Total project cost:
25% through PPP Canada Fund from the Government of Canada
75% Renewi plc (Orgaworld)