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Surrey biofuel facility on the way

Surrey will soon have a biofuel facility on the lot south of the transfer station. - Google Maps
Surrey will soon have a biofuel facility on the lot south of the transfer station.
— image credit: Google Maps

Soon, your plate scrapings will be powering the trucks that come and collect your waste.

The plan is to create a facility that can turn household organic waste into a fuel capable of powering vehicles, including those that pick up the organics from the curbside.

Surrey will be the first in North America with a system this size.

On Thursday, the federal government committed $16.9 million toward the public-private partnership to build a biofuel facility near the Surrey Transfer Station in the 9700-block 192 Street in Port Kells.

The federal contribution is 25 per cent of the total cost. Surrey will contribute the $11 million in land (not included in the price equation), while the private sector will be invited to invest the remaining $50 million.

Next year, an RFP will go out to the private sector, which will be invited to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the facility for 30 or 35 years.

After that, the facility will become property of the city.

It will be a non-thermal plant, meaning it doesn't require burning the organics.

Instead, they go through anaerobic digestion, all the air is taken out, gas is generated , scrubbed, and piped into the Fortis natural gas grid or held in tanks.

Surrey's curbside waste pickup vehicles will run on the gas that's produced.

But the facility will produce much more gas than that.

"Our estimates, based on an 80,000 tonne-a-year facility, we would be able to generate enough gas to run five times the fleet," said Rob Costanzo, Surrey's deputy operations manager of engineering. "That will be utilized by the city, the public, whoever wants to purchase that green gas."

Whether the surplus will be sold on site, or piped somewhere else, will largely be determined by the private contractor.

Costanzo said likely contractors will be coming from Europe or Asia where facilities like the one proposed already exist.

"I would say we have just made it to the base of the mountain," Costanzo said. "Now we just have to keep on, and go through procurement of a technology provider and move on to the next step."

@diakiw

 

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