Frequently Asked Questions
What is Renewable Natural Gas?
When organic waste decomposes, it naturally releases biogas, a greenhouse gas (GHG) containing carbon dioxide and methane, into the atmosphere. Before this biogas can escape as GHGs, we capture it through a process called Anaerobic Digestion and purify it to create Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). RNG is carbon negative, meaning, that using RNG can reduces more GHG emissions than it produces.
What is Anaerobic Digestion?
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a natural process where bacteria break down organic material and produce methane (also called Renewable Natural Gas), which can then be used as fuel in place of gas retrieved from harmful extraction methods.
Unlike composting, which allows food to break down in an open environment, AD captures and uses the gases that result from organics decomposing and therefore reduces GHG emissions. With Andion’s AD solution, the AD process produces renewable natural gas (methane), which is captured for energy generation. The amount of carbon dioxide that is also produced as part of the AD process is much less than the amount of carbon dioxide produced during composting, thus the AD process results in less GHG emissions than composting.
Will it smell?
Unlike a composting or farming operation, the processing of organics in our facility will take place indoors and inside sealed vessels operating under negative air pressure. The process to mitigate odours at an Andion AD waste-to-energy facility immediately starts when the feedstock is transported to the site and ends with the digestate’s treatment (wastewater treatment for liquid fraction and composting for solid fraction). All buildings, including the waste receiving area and composting building, are kept in negative pressure environments and all processing activities are performed inside these areas. The same applies for any incorporated waste-water treatment basins. Air management systems ensure odour does not leak from the buildings and all air is processed through an extensive two stage system of wet scrubbing followed by biofiltration. Further, Andion has designed standard operating procedures for the various stages of organic digestion and composting that all operators are to follow to ensure proper odour control. Similar facilities designed and built by Andion have been in operation in Europe for over a decade co-existing with residential and commercial neighbors without any odor complaints.
What is the location and size of the facility? What will it look like?
The project is located on Semiahmoo First Nation land adjacent to the highway set back 40 meters from the highway and is approximately 4 acres in size. The facility looks like a light industrial facility, and the building colours are chosen to integrate with the vegetation and proper landscape harmonizes the view from the highway. Our project has also allocated budget towards an art project for the facility, which may take the form of a large mural on the building. All processing of organics takes place indoors from waste receiving all the way to water and nutrient rich digestate removal, and no waste is stored on site.
Here is a picture of a similar project completed by Andion to give an indication of its appearance:
When does construction start and finish?
Our timing is dependent on a number of factors, including financing and federal, provincial, regional permitting, but we anticipate starting construction by the start of 2024 and finishing by early 2026.
Will it create a lot of traffic?
We have used comprehensive location assessments and requirements from our neighbors to design scheduling and routing that minimize any disruption resulting from traffic to and from the site. The trucks will be scheduled at off-peak hours to minimize congestion, border traffic impact and noise. They will not operate on holidays.
Will it be noisy?
The noise modelling performed shows that the facility produces little to no noise, and when compared with the highway, it finds that the highway essentially drowns out the facility
Where does the Renewable Natural Gas go?
One of the benefits of Renewable Natural Gas is that it is known as a ‘drop-in fuel’, meaning that it can be added directly to existing gas pipelines. FortisBC will be purchasing the gas from the project and distributing it to their customers. You can learn more about FortisBC’s Renewable Natural Gas program here: https://www.fortisbc.com/services/sustainable-energy-options/renewable-natural-gas
Where does the waste come from?
The waste will be sourced from households and commercial facilities such as restaurants, institutions and food processing sites in the surrounding area, diverting this waste from landfills or other sites to ours ensures that methane emissions are avoided and instead captured and utilized via the natural gas system already in place within the community. In this way we are actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions and displacing fossil fuel use for the community. Based on the maximum volumes of organic waste, an average of 20 trucks a day are expected to meet the operations of the facility. The noise modelling performed shows that the facility produces little to no noise, and when compared with the highway, it finds that the highway essentially drowns out the facility.
Organic waste (food waste and yard waste) in Metro Vancouver comprises up to 40% of municipal sold waste regionally. Currently, there is less processing capacity in the region than organics that are collected.