The City of Surrey will be home to the largest organic biofuel facility in Canada thanks to a public-private partnership, announced Thursday, between the federal government and a yet-to-be-chosen partner.
The government will contribute up to $16.9 million, estimated to be 25 per cent of the project costs, from the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Canada Fund. The other 75 per cent, an estimated $50.7 million, will come from the private partner. The City of Surrey will pay for the property, valued at $11 million and located adjacent to the Surrey Transfer Station in Port Kells.
"These types of initiatives will really benefit the entire region," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts about the facility, scheduled to open in 2015. "We want to create a cleaner, more sustainable community."
The facility is part of the city's waste-reduction program, in partnership with Progressive Waste Solutions, to handle garbage, recycling and organics within the community. The facility will handle 80,000 metric tonnes of organic waste per year and will convert organic waste into compressed natural gas used by FortisBC. The biofuel will also power the fleet of 52 CNG-fueled trucks.
"One CNG truck is equal to taking 475 cars off the road each year, and that is significant," said Watts, who was quick to point out the facility is not an incinerator. "When you're taking the organics out of the waste stream and converting that into fuel to fuel the vehicles, that is called waste to energy, but it's through digesters that we're using."
Watts also noted that waste collection rates will not increase as a result of this program.
An estimated 65 per cent of the waste collected from approximately 100,000 Surrey homes is organic. The digesters will help the city and Metro Vancouver achieve the regional target of diverting 70 per cent of organics from landfills by 2015. Coun. Marvin Hunt said the city currently diverts 54 per cent of organics.
"This is all organic waste from the household, from commercial, industrial, institutional, townhouses, highrises - all the organics throughout the city will be available to come here," said Hunt.
Construction of the facility begins next year, and until it is open, Hunt said the organic waste will be treated at the Fraser Richmond Soil & Fibre Composting Facility.
Fleetwood-Port Kells MP Nina Grewal came out and expressed her support.
"A healthy and vibrant environment free of pollution is something all Canadians have the right to enjoy," she said.