RNG Provides Key To Green Ontario’s Transportation Industry

    Canadian Ontario Waste Collection Industry Looks To Reduce Emissions

    RNG is a carbon-neutral energy source that provides a tremendous opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the waste collection sector. (Image Courtesy Of CNW Group/Enbridge Gas Inc)

    Enbridge Gas Inc. (Enbridge), in agreement with the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), announced a pilot project to use low-carbon renewable natural gas (RNG) in waste collection vehicles across Ontario. RNG is a carbon-neutral fuel source that presents an opportunity to help Ontario reach its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions targets. “RNG is now playing a role in Ontario’s shift to lower-carbon, sustainable energy solutions,” said Malini Giridhar, vice president of business development and regulatory at Enbridge Gas. “It is an important example of the investments Enbridge Gas is making across multiple markets to green the natural gas grid, while continuing to meet the demand for safe, reliable, and affordable energy. We are proud to have provided early support to this pilot that is changing the face of the industry and contributing to the decarbonization of one of Ontario’s highest emitting sectors.”

    Waste Sector Transportation Costs

    Currently, more than 40% of Ontario’s waste sector expenditures are related to transportation costs, which are expected to increase. While the sector has made significant contributions to sustainability by supporting waste diversion efforts, there is room to build on that success and continue investing in a green future. “We are proud to be one of the world’s leading clean energy hubs thanks to innovative solutions and partnerships like this one that are helping to decarbonize Ontario’s heavy transportation sector,” said Todd Smith, Ontario’s energy minister. “Low-carbon energy solutions like RNG play an important role in supporting our province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, while also helping us build a greener, healthier future for all Ontarians.”

    RNG’s Role In Ontario’s Transportation Industry

    With a fleet of 3650 waste collection and haulage vehicles in Ontario that consume about 34 million gallons (130 million liters) of diesel per year, there is a significant opportunity to reduce emissions by transitioning the industry to low-carbon renewable fuels. RNG is an affordable, safe, and reliable alternative clean energy fuel that leverages existing natural gas infrastructure. Because it can be powered by waste, it has the added bonus of diverting waste from landfills, and in some cases results in carbon-negative emissions, which contributes to the creation of a circular economy. “Reducing emissions to combat climate change and its impacts on our province is a top priority for our government,” said David Piccini, minister of the environment, conservation, and parks. “Initiatives like this one — decarbonizing waste collection trucks — will play an important role in our efforts to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions and reach our 2030 targets. I would like to thank Enbridge and the Ontario Waste Management Association for the tremendous work they have done on this project. Together, we will build a cleaner, greener province for generations to come.”

    Working Toward Net-Zero Emissions

    The steady and accelerating growth of RNG production in Ontario enables industry organizations like OWMA to pursue diesel displacement and supports its vision to collaborate with community stakeholders to advance best practices in waste management. For example, this RNG opportunity will enable existing gas-fueled waste vehicles to attain near zero emissions and will enable existing fleets to attain a total of 61,729 tons (56,000 tonnes) of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions in Ontario, which is roughly equivalent to removing 12,000 passenger cars off the road each year. “There is a strong signal that the time to act in our industry is now and ensure we harness the economic and environmental value of low-carbon fuels,” said Mike Chopowick, CEO of OWMA. “Ontario’s waste sector wants to do its part in reducing emissions and recover more resources from waste. This partnership is the beginning of a generational transformation of how we better manage waste to achieve a low-carbon future.”

    Enbridge said that an ambitious agenda to increase the use of RNG in the transportation of waste could result in a significant annual reduction of 485,017 tons (440,000 tonnes) of GHG emissions — roughly equivalent to removing 100,000 passenger cars off the road each year —and Ontario’s waste industry is poised to lead the country in the effort to green the heavy transportation sector.

    “We are so pleased to be a part of this initiative,” said Bruce Winchester, executive director of Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA). “Member fleets are already contributing to emissions reductions in Ontario’s waste management sector. To date, annual emissions reductions from Ontario’s 600 gaseous fueled refuse vehicles include a 90% reduction of combustion emissions that create smog and have other health impacts. In addition, these vehicles are also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 11,023 tons [10,000 tonnes] per year — equivalent to removing 2000 cars from Ontario’s roads. This industry is already leading in emissions reductions and is poised to support further emissions reductions across the commercial transportation sector.”

    “As a global group of professionals, we are committed to solving the world’s biggest challenges in the areas of water, energy, and urbanization,” said Robert Dysiewicz, global commercial innovation leader of GHD. “Currently, Ontarians generate almost 4.41 million tons [4 million tonnes] of food and organic waste annually. There is an important opportunity ahead of us to enhance resource recovery from waste, reduce emissions from vehicle fuels, and conserve Ontario’s increasingly scarce landfill capacity to achieve a greener future for all Ontarians.”