An innovative clean energy start-up company, G4 Insights Inc., has successfully demonstrated in a field trial that forestry industry residues can be turned into renewable natural gas (RNG). Their RNG technology demonstration project has been supported by a federal-provincial-industry partnership with the common goal of clean energy distribution into homes, businesses and industry connected to the natural gas infrastructure system.
The federal-provincial-industry consortium includes Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF), Alberta Innovates (AI), ATCO and FPInnovations, who have collectively invested a total of $2.8 million in grants and in-kind, for the testing and demonstration of G4 Insights’ PyroCatalytic Hydrogenation (PCH) technology.
This technology, when commercialized, will convert forestry biomass into RNG that can be added to the existing natural gas distribution system and used interchangeably by customers without any equipment modifications.
The G4 demonstration unit in Edmonton, Alberta, now operating for six months, has tested a range of biomass materials and has collected technical and financial data to determine optimal performance of the unit. For the first time in Alberta, the RNG produced during that period was tested and injected into the natural gas distribution grid owned and operated by industry partner ATCO, the demonstration project host where the unit is located.
Renewable natural gas produced from sustainably managed forest residue can emit up to 85 per cent fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than traditional fuels. Forest residue, which includes every part of the tree, can be converted into solid, liquid or gaseous biofuels such as RNG. It can then be used as an alternative energy source to fuel transportation or in industrial processes. The G4 technology can also be used to convert agricultural crop wastes into RNG.
By investing in the development of clean technology for the production of RNG, there is an opportunity to diversify Canada’s energy mix, reduce GHG emissions, improve industrial efficiency and create new economic opportunities for Canadian companies in both rural and urban communities.