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It’s Manure’s Moment: Fuelling Trucks with Farm Waste

Ontario's first carbon negative truck-Enbridge
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Ontario's first carbon negative truck-Enbridge
Sponsored by:

Ontario’s first carbon-negative waste truck

The newest addition to Bluewater Recycling Association’s (BRA) fleet is turning heads on collection routes in rural communities of Southwestern Ontario. The carbon-negative truck, developed in partnership with the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) and Enbridge Gas, runs on renewable natural gas (RNG) largely made from cow manure produced at a local farm.

What makes it carbon negative? The truck’s fuel diverts more carbon than it emits. Turning manure into RNG captures methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, diverting farm waste and supporting local economic development. The RNG is also used in place of diesel fuel, which further reduces emissions—in just six months, the BRA truck will eliminate emissions from 18,000 litres of diesel.

Cow manure fueling the truck

“Thousands of waste and recycling collection vehicles travel through our communities, recapturing resources and keeping waste out of our environment,” says Spencer Leef, Manager of Policy and Research, OWMA. “This initiative represents a significant opportunity in further closing the loop by using the organic waste collected to fuel (RNG) and decarbonize our fleets.”

A viable path towards zero-emission transportation

The waste truck is second in a series of carbon-negative ‘firsts’; last year, Ontario’s first carbon-negative bus in Hamilton set new standards for sustainable public transit. Launched as a similar pilot program in partnership with Enbridge Gas, the bus is fuelled by locally sourced RNG produced at the nearby StormFisher Biogas Facility.

As leaders strive for a more circular economy, pilot programs like these are helping to demonstrate the crucial role RNG will play in fighting climate change. Across Ontario, many other regions are producing RNG from landfill and wastewater and using it to fuel commercial and public transit fleets. Today, there are more than 110 RNG facilities operating in North America—30 of them are in Ontario.

“We are excited to work with the City of Hamilton and Enbridge on this transformational initiative,” says Brandon Moffatt, Vice President, Development & Operations, StormFisher Ltd. “The use of renewable natural gas as a carbon-negative fuel for public transit is a great example of the steps that need to be taken as we move forward into a net-zero carbon future, and supporting economic development and jobs in Ontario.”

We want to use cleaner renewable energy sources to serve our communities while continuing to strive for a more circular economy in all aspects of our operations and help to ensure our municipal members meet their environmental commitments. Having a clean, renewable and local source of energy for our fleet embodies everything BRA believes in.

Francis Veilleux, President of BRA

Help to switch fleets to RNG

Enbridge Gas is helping fleets transition to compressed natural gas vehicles fuelled by RNG, with a support program that helps governments and stakeholders make the switch smoothly. It’s also working closely with fleet owners, agribusiness, food processors, municipalities, waste management and other organizations to help decision makers identify, facilitate and lead the way to a clean energy future with RNG.

5 reasons fleet owners choose RNG

Transportation currently accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Ontario. While electrification is a solution for passenger and other light-duty vehicles, heavy-duty trucks are difficult to electrify today. This is due to the impact of battery weight on freight payload, lack of charging infrastructure and available time for recharging. For fleet owners, RNG is a practical, ready-now solution with many advantages over electric:

  1. Easy vehicle conversion: Diesel trucks can be replaced one-for-one without compromising performance or range in many applications.
  2. Affordable: RNG trucks are half the cost of electric trucks, and the price of RNG fuel is similar to that of diesel.
  3. Reliable and resilient: RNG leverages existing natural gas infrastructure, reducing the need to build new. RNG is stored safely underground and is resistant to severe weather.
  4. Performance and refueling parity with diesel: Like diesel trucks, RNG trucks operate during freezing weather conditions, and can refuel in minutes.
  5. Carbon-pricing exempt: Even a blend of RNG can mitigate fuel cost increases.
Cow manure fueling the truck
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