The ZooShare Biogas Project has gone live.
The project, the result of a partnership between ZooShare Biogas Cooperative, the Toronto Zoo, Loblaw Companies Ltd. and EnerFORGE, is the first of its kind in Canada.
It converts 2,000 tonnes of zoo manure and 15,000 tonnes of food waste from grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses around the Greater Toronto Area into enough renewable power for approximately 250 homes. It also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by as much as 20,000 tonnes per year.
Additionally, after the incoming material has been processed it can be spread on nearby farm fields as fertilizer to support the growth of food the following season.
The Zooshare plant cost $7.8 million and was built by ZooShare Biogas Co-operative and EnerFORGE. The Co-op’s investment came from 807 ZooShare members who collectively invested over $4 million, and a Federal government grant through the Low Carbon Economy Fund.
Its revenue streams are:
- Producing and selling electricity to the Ontario electric grid
- Tipping fees for accepting waste
- Sales of nitrogen rich fertilizer
Fighting climate change
For ZooShare and the Toronto Zoo, the project represents a chance to raise their game in the fight against climate change. Reducing GHG emissions, through the diversion of food waste and generation of renewable energy, is just one of the things the Zoo is doing to fight extinction, as climate change negatively impacts ecosystems critical for species survival. The two organizations are also working together to educate students and the general public on the value of biogas and the importance of properly managing organic waste.
Loblaw has reduced the amount of food waste sent to landfill from its corporate retail operations by more than 80 percent since 2016. Loblaw credits innovative thinking and strategic partnerships, such as these, with their success to date.
For EnerFORGE, the project’s energy infrastructure partner, the ZooShare biogas plant will add to their portfolio of low carbon energy projects .
This project was also made possible by a Low Carbon Economy Fund grant from the Government of Canada, and support from other contributing organizations including Bullfrog Power, Octaform and Walker Industries.