Vice President of Business Development, EnerFORGE
EnerFORGE teamed up with the Toronto Zoo to convert animal waste (read: poop) into energy. It’s all part of Canada’s transition to a lower-carbon future.
Energy is a significant cost for most organizations — as well as an increasing liability, given volatility in global energy markets. As concern about climate change mounts, innovative solutions that move Canada closer to a secure, circular economy — while reducing carbon emissions and helping organizations improve their bottom line — will play an important role in securing the country’s energy future.
Imaginative collaborations between companies will be an important part of Canada’s emerging green economy, according to Scott Barker, Vice President of Business Development at EnerFORGE, Oshawa’s municipally-owned energy services company.
“We’re looking to develop bold new directions and help our customers move away from the status quo when it comes to energy,” he says. “We think that Canada’s energy future will be a hybrid of traditional centralized generation from large plants alongside a dramatic uptick in smaller, more versatile and cost-effective projects that react quickly to local needs and transmit energy over much shorter distances.”
Biogas as the ultimate bridge fuel
To that end, EnerFORGE has partnered with ZooShare, a renewable energy cooperative, for a first-of-its-kind-in-the-country project. The project will repurpose animal waste from the Toronto Zoo and food waste from grocery stores — all of which would otherwise be trucked long distances and might end up in landfills — into biogas.
The waste-derived biogas will be used to generate electricity and heat through a combined heat and power unit. The project is expected to not only offset the equivalent of a third of the zoo’s energy demand, but to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 20,000 tonnes of CO2e per year.
“In the longer term, biogas can be upgraded to produce renewable natural gas or converted to hydrogen,” says Barker. “This is an opportunity to transition our customers away from conventional natural gas onto renewable natural gas in the long term. It’s a transition toward a lower-carbon future that all organizations need to be contemplating sooner, rather than later.”