New York City’s Energy Vision is spreading the word about a new compost-to-biomethane program in British Columbia – designed as an efficient way to make renewable gas to offset the fuel burned by garbage trucks in the city of Surrey, south of Vancouver.
Surrey “is the first community we have seen in the U.S. or Canada that has assumed a leadership role in orchestrating a closed loop system in which, by 2014, Surrey will have its refuse fleet powered, not by diesel fuel, but by renewable natural gas fuel made from the City’s own wastes,” Energy Vision says.
A key part of the program is the switch to compressed natural gas trucks by Surrey collection services provider BFI Canada. BFI, a unit of Progressive Waste Solutions, tested a Cummins Westport ISL G-powered low-entry Mack with 26-yard McNeilus side loader body as a pilot vehicle, and is to buy several dozen new CNG trucks to enter service in October 2012.
Better Than Tapping a Landfill
They’ll initially run on conventional compressed natural gas, as the city takes bids and picks vendors and builds a new digester facility to process organic waste from some 470,000 Surrey residents. Slated for completion in 2014, the plant will yield biomethane fuel estimated to cost about per 65¢ to 75¢ per diesel liter equivalent, says Rob Costanzo, deputy operations manager for the town. That compares to just 40¢ for conventional natural gas from the pipeline, but is still far cheaper than diesel, which sells for roughly $1.30 per liter (Natural Resources Canada price chart).
Biomethane made via a digester directly from organic waste yields far more fuel than projects drawing gas from landfills, Costanzo says. From a landfill, “You’ll only ever capture 30% to 40% of the methane gas generated,” he told F&F. A digester processing garbage directly captures virtually all of it, and yields a useful fertilizer by-product as well.
The Surrey project is detailed in Energy Vision’s 12-page The City of Surrey: Setting the Pace for Sustainable Transportation by Joanna Underwood and Michael Lerner.
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