North America’s first bio-fuel facility opens in Surrey

New ‘closed-loop’ biofuel facility in Surrey
The city of Surrey has opened a new biofuel facility that it says is the first of its kind in North America. John Hua explains why it's called a 'closed-loop' system.

North America’s first organic waste management system is open and it is right here in B.C.

Surrey’s $68 million biofuel facility began operations on Friday in the Port Kells area. The new system converts curbside organic waste from homes into renewable energy, and powers the city’s fleet of waste collection trucks. Excess fuel will be transferred to the new district energy system that heats and cools Surrey City Centre.

Rob Costanzo, the General Manager of the City of Surrey’s Corporate Services, said the advanced facility is a game changer.

“Here we are with the facility that’s going to take organic waste and convert it to renewable natural gas and a compost material that’s going to be used to grow food and plants and vegetables,” Costanzo said.

The waste management plant will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 49,000 tonnes per year, which they say is equal to taking ten thousand cars off the roads on a yearly basis.

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Costanzo said the new facility was constructed thanks in large part to a public-private partnership, and that the P3 fund from the federal government was vital in bringing in a partner with technological expertise.

“These facilities are fairly new to North America,” Costanzo said. “Surrey is very much a pioneer in the context of waste management with this type of facility.”

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said she recalls standing in the empty lot for the “ground-breaking ceremony” that announced the construction of the plant three years ago.

“At that time, the only hint of what was to come was on the signs for that particular event,” Hepner said.