The gas plant in action capturing and processing methane released from the waste buried at Hartland. (CRD Photo)

CRD looks to trap more biogas at landfill

Capturing landfill methane as a potent, renewable fuel

A plan to capture much more of the biogas emitted at Hartland landfill in Saanich is underway with the Capital Regional District’s Parks and Environmental Services department.

The biogas comes from the waste in the landfill and the methane is combusted to make green power which Fortis uses.

Currently, the CRD estimates about 55 per cent of the biogas coming out of the Hartland landfill is methane, a highly productive gas that has 21 times the energy capacity than the Co2 released there, said Larisa Hutcheson, general manager of CRD Parks and Environmental Services.

READ MORE: Central Saanich residents vow to stop the stink

The plan now is to consider how much more can be captured and used, she added, as there is long term interest from Fortis to develop these projects.

“We are already collecting it to produce green power,” Hutcheson said. “We have an opportunity to use the biogas, it’s an environmental challenge we’re faced with.”

In 2017, the landfill gas collection captured and used 1,102 cubic feet per minute of biogas. About 467 cfm or 42 per cent of the biogas was used for green power generation while the other 638 cfm, or 58 per cent, was flared off.

In addition to a larger gas plant at Hartland, CRD staff hope to recommend to the board of directors an anaerobic digestive centre at Hartland. This would change the current model of shipping Greater Victoria’s kitchen waste out of the region to numerous places.

There is a report coming for an anaerobic regional kitchen scraps processing facility. In addition to being highly efficient at capturing any biogas created, an anaerobic vessel would also be sealed, therefore eliminating any concern of odor, which was an initial problem when the kitchen waste program started. Any biogas captured in the anaerobic tank would also fuel the new gas plant.

READ MORE: Summer makes for nasty smelling organic waste totes

READ ALSO: From chip bags to dirty jars, touring Greater Victoria’s recycling processing plant

“Part of the next step is to go out to municipalities and waste haulers to see if they can participate in the process,” Hutcheson said. “We’ll see if we can partner up to collect scraps and see if there will be economies of scale to make that work happen. We need to wee what the interest is like and what the volumes would be.”

CRD chair and Saanich Coun. Colin Plant said the CRD board is always going to be interested in the best environmental and financial outcomes for the region.

“This project attempts to advance these interests,” Plant said. “I look forward to learning more about this proposal at the [next] committee meeting and then at the board meeting in March if the committee recommends it.”

reporter@saanichnews.com


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