Biomethanation plant begins operations in Quebec

By Erin Voegele | January 26, 2018

On Jan. 26, government officials in Canada inaugurated a biomethanation plant in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. The facility processes waste into renewable natural gas (RNG) that is fed into grid of Énergir, a natural gas distributor in Quebec.

According to Infrastructure Canada, the facility is the largest of its kind in Canada. Énergir also noted that it is the first municipal biomethanation project in Quebec.

The Saint-Hyacinthe biomethanation plant is expected to produce approximately 13 million cubic meters of RNG annually. The city will uses approximately 1.25 million cubic meters for its own needs and sell the surplus to Énergir. L’Oréal Canada has signed on as the first Énergir customer to purchase RNG produced from the Saint-Hyacinthe facility.

Once fully operational, Énergir said the plant will have the capacity to recycle nearly 200,000 metric tons of organic waste annually sourced from 25 towns and agrifood businesses in the region and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 49,000 metric tons per year.

Énergir said the project required $80 million in total investment, including $42.2 million sourced from the government of Quebec, $11.4 million from the government of Canada and $27 million from the city of Saint-Hyacinthe. Énergir built the infrastructure needed to inject the RNG into its distribution network.

“Saint-Hyacinthe is proud to be one of the first cities in North America to begin converting its organic materials through a process called biomethanation, a great example of a circular economy,” said Claude Corbeil, mayor of Saint-Hyacinthe. “Residents and local agri-food companies bring their organic materials to the new biomethanation facilities at the treatment plant, which is then transformed into renewable natural gas (RNG). It is being used by the city to power its vehicles fleet and heat buildings. The RNG surplus is being sold to Énergir, and the funds earned are put towards improving the services we provide our citizens. The anticipated returns related the biomethanation process for 2018 are estimated at $5.8 million. Saint-Hyacinthe is showing once again that it is truly a leading city for innovation.”

"Énergir has been active in encouraging the development of renewable natural gas since its production in Québec began, making it available to as many customers as possible,” said Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Énergir. “We're proud to have worked with the City of Saint-Hyacinthe to make this first major biomethanation project a reality, as an alternative to burying waste. This project also actively contributes to achieving our collective goals of reducing GHG emissions and fits in with Québec's 2030 Energy Policy."