Metro Vancouver will capture some of the energy in sewage with a $13 million project that delivers energy-rich biomethane to FortisBC and its natural gas distribution system. Instead of being flared off into the atmosphere, biomethane will be piped to homes and businesses, to help fuel things like furnaces, stoves and hot water heaters. “The fundamental purpose of sewerage systems and wastewater treatment plants is to protect the environment and human health,” said Board Chair Greg Moore. “But liquid waste is also a potential source of energy.   This green energy can displace the fossil fuels which hasten global warming.” Residents, businesses and industries in Metro Vancouver produce about one billion litres of wastewater each day.  About 80 per cent comes from our homes, when we use toilets, sinks, showers, washing machines and anything else that sends water down a drain or pipe. “Traditionally, liquid waste was viewed as an unusable output that needed to be collected, treated and disposed,” said Utilities Committee Chair Darrell Mussatto. “The regional district’s long-term vision is to recover as many resources as possible in liquid waste before it is returned to the environment, as part of the water cycle.  Our experts are evaluating opportunities – and business cases – for recovering energy, nutrients, water and other resources.” At most of Metro Vancouver’s five wastewater treatment plants, most biomethane generated from the treatment plants is captured and put to use to heat and, in some cases, to generate electric power needed for the treatment plants.  The new project, at Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond, is designed to increase biomethane production for in-plant use and purify biomethane for delivery to FortisBC. “This will be the first time that a wastewater treatment plant in B.C. will put biomethane into a natural gas distribution system which delivers fuel to homes,” Mussatto noted. This spring, Metro Vancouver is initiating design of the $13 million Green Biomethane Project at Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond.  The project is expected to begin operation in 2016.  The project will use an innovative technology called MicroSludge ©. The patented technology, developed by Paradigm Environmental Technologies Inc., increases the quantity of energy-rich biomethane generated in a biomass digester. The project will also purify much of the biomethane so Metro Vancouver can sell it to FortisBC, a company that sells natural gas, propane and electricity. FortisBC will distribute the biomethane, through its system of existing natural gas transmission system, to residential and commercial customers.  Metro Vancouver projects the Green Biomethane Project will sell enough biomethane to FortisBC to meet the needs of about 400 single-family homes. This energy is considered carbon neutral because it comes from renewable, green sources.  It replaces traditional natural gas.  This reduces the amount of climate-changing greenhouse gases that are released, by about 2,000 tonnes per year. That’s comparable to the greenhouse gases emitted from the tailpipes of about 500 cars during a year of driving. The $13 million project is financially supported by several partners, including the Province of British Columbia’s Innovative Clean Energy fund, Innovations funding from federal gas taxes administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, and Paradigm Environmental Technologies, Inc.  Please visit www.metrovancouver.org to learn more about Liquid Waste Services provided by Metro Vancouver. Check out the Wastewater Collection & Treatment pages, as well as major Wastewater Construction Projects.