Study to look at biogas
option for Dysart
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | February 1, 2018
Biogas technology could one day make good use of methane gas from the Haliburton and West Guilford landfills.
But first, a feasibility study must be completed to determine if it’s a viable project. Dysart council recently gave Cambium Inc., a Peterborough engineering company, the go-ahead to apply for a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the study. If successful, they could receive up to $160,000, or 80 per cent of the cost.
During a Dec. 22 meeting, council heard from John Desbiens, president and CEO of Cambium Inc., and Chris Ferguson, managing director of CCS Biogas. They spoke about the possibilities for biogas in Haliburton.
Through a process known as anaerobic digestion, organic materials are broken down into biogas (consisting primarily of methane and carbon dioxide), according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“It is an attractive treatment option for agricultural materials, food processing and municipal organic waste,” explained Desbiens. “There’s value potential for energy recovery, but also for pollution control and reduction of greenhouse gases.”
He said the energy from biogas primarily comes from methane. It can be used as a fuel, and electricity can be generated with a combined heat and power engine. “There’s a lot of energy potential there,” he said, adding that capturing methane is better for the environment than releasing it in the atmosphere.
Desbiens estimates the Haliburton landfill on Industrial Park Road generates 500 tonnes of methane per year while the West Guilford landfill produces 200 tonnes. They want to capture that gas by installing extraction piping. The gas would be vacuumed out and stored before being transported by truck to its destination. In an email, Ferguson said this amount of methane would equal 10,780,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of chemical energy per year. That’s enough to provide electricity to 300 homes annually or about 400 homes if used as a natural gas replacement, he said.
However, he notes the extraction rate would decrease to almost zero over 30 years. The municipality would be able to generate revenue through sales of compressed renewable natural gas and carbon credits, according to their presentation. Desbiens pointed out the province is moving toward a waste-free strategy.
“One of the goals … is to reduce the volume of food and organic waste going in the landfills,” he said, adding organic materials may eventually be banned from landfills.
Before getting into biogas, Ferguson worked in atmospheric physics at Trent University. His company currently has three biogas plants operating in a study phase in Millbrook, Halifax and Peterborough. Rob Camelon, director of public works, said the feasibility study will also reveal estimated returns on investment, and a design and operations plan. The municipality will contribute in-kind work toward the study, if necessary. The study will only proceed if funding is obtained. Cambium is preparing the application at no cost to the municipality.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.