From Filth to Fuel: Carbon-negative manure-powered garbage truck unveiled in southwest Ont.

London, Ontario — The winds of change blowing in southwestern Ontario, as the Bluewater Recycling Association unveiled a new carbon-negative garbage truck this week that runs on renewable natural gas sourced from local farms. In other words, the winds of change smell a little bit like cow manure.

And makes sense that it does, because that is exactly what powers this new truck that has already been deployed on routes in Middlesex, Huron, Perth and Lambton counties.

“The natural gas that we’re using to power the truck is actually coming from cow manure,” said Francis Veilleux, president of the Bluewater Recycling Association.

“It is identical to the other trucks that we have on the roads today that run on regularly compressed natural gas.”

The “fuel” is sourced from a dairy farm in Middlesex County and is stored in special tanks where it is then combined with a bacteria that transforms the waste into biogas. The methane is then separated from that biogas and used to create a renewable energy source.

Bluewater Recycling says the truck will displace carbon dioxide emissions from 18,000 litres of diesel within its first six months, meaning the greenhouse gas levels it reduces will be greater than that which it emits, therefore making it a carbon-negative vehicle.

Tariq Qurashi, an alternative fuels specialist with Enbridge Gas Inc., told the London Free Press that renewable natural gas solutions are due to become more commonplace in the coming years.

“This is an industry that’s set to take off,” he said. “As long as humans continue to eat food and produce organic waste and as long as you know that organic waste gives off methane, then capturing that methane and using it as truck fuel is a wonderful way of lowering anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.”

Veilleux says the first six months of this truck’s career will be considered a trial to determine whether or not to convert the rest of his fleet to renewable natural gas.

“If that goes well, then our intention is to look at expanding the use of that fuel in the rest of our fleet. If someday we can get to 100 percent renewable natural gas, that would be great.”

This carbon-negative garbage truck unveiled by the Bluewater Recycling Association is the result of a partnership with Enbridge Gas and the Ontario Waste Management Association.

What do you think of renewable natural gas as a replacement for diesel? Is poop-power the way to go, or should electric options be expanded? Leave your thoughts down below.


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