Executive Director, Canadian Biogas Association
You know that funky smell coming from your green bin? That’s the primary ingredient of biogas. If you capture enough of it, and purify it, it becomes a powerful and reliable source of renewable energy.
Wherever you live in Canada, there’s a good chance that climate-friendly biogas is working for you at this very moment: it’s helping to charge your phone, to power your fridge, to heat your home, or to fuel your transit system. And if it isn’t yet, it will be soon.
That’s because biogas is one of Canada’s fastest-growing renewable energy sources. It’s clean, it’s reliable, it’s cost-effective, and it comes from something we have a lot of in Canada: organic waste.
Canada’s 6 million tonnes of food waste, 16 million tonnes of farm manure, 1,500 active landfills, and sludge from 1,200 wastewater treatment plants are all readily-available sources of biogas energy.
Canada’s biogas producers capture the waste methane emitted by these organic wastes, before it gets released into the atmosphere as climate pollution, and instead get value out of it by turning it into a clean source of electricity and renewable natural gas (RNG).
Biogas is Canada’s quiet achiever
There are currently more than 270 biogas projects operating across Canada, producing reliable and clean energy for communities, farms, homes, and businesses. How much exactly? In 2020, the sector produced the equivalent of roughly 400 million square metres of solar panels, or more than 13 large hydro dams.
These projects are being led by farmers, who are converting one million tonnes of manure and agricultural waste into biogas; by industries, which can tap into wastewater sludge; and by municipalities. For instance, the City of Surrey is capturing the biogas from its Green Bin program and converting it into the fuel being used for its waste collection fleet. And in 2021, the City of Hamilton unveiled Ontario’s first “carbon-negative” bus, which is fuelled completely by RNG made with biogas from a nearby biogas facility.
There’s opportunity for much more
The good news is that there’s opportunity for much more made-in-Canada biogas. Research shows that Canada could efficiently tap at least eight times more energy from biogas and RNG, with untapped resources in every part of the country. Having the right market signals and policies in place can shape a bright future in which biogas supports greenhouse gas emission reductions, organic waste diversion, and clean energy production in a profound way.
The Canadian Biogas Association (CBA) is dedicated to growing the biogas industry to its fullest potential and maximizing the benefits from biogas. Jennifer Green, Executive Director of the CBA, shares, “Biogas is a shovel-ready solution that can deliver reliable and clean energy while reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and driving economic development in both urban and rural areas. Biogas is a full-package solution for Canada’s climate targets, and there’s opportunity for much more of it.”
Visit the CBA’s dedicated microsite bettergas.ca for an introduction to biogas, project profiles, and FAQs, and to view the Canadian 2020 Biogas Market Report published by the CBA, which offers a snapshot of Canada’s biogas sector and the factors influencing its growth.