Biogas engineering

Specializing in anaerobic digestion and biogas utilization, Quebec-based Electrigaz works to promote the benefits of biogas/biomethane as a green energy solution. Beginning in 2005, the company advocates for the usage of this renewable energy as efficient and environmentally conscious energy sources.

Composed primarily of methane, biogas represents one solution to environmental and energy challenges. Reads the website, “Similar to natural gas, methane captured by a biogas system can be substituted to conventional fossil fuel to provide heat, electrical power, or transportation biofuel and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.”

Electrigaz uses organic waste to generate renewable energy and fertilizer to displace fossil fuels such as oil and gasoline.

Benefits of biogas

“There are many benefits of biogas,” said Eric Camirand, President of Electrigaz. “Biogas reduces greenhouse gases by capturing methane that would otherwise go into the atmosphere, and we avoid other greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuels with biogas.

Unlike other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, biogas generation is a constant process, available 24/7, even during peak times, to offer a trustworthy energy source. The next step is to expand biogas across the renewable energy portfolio.

Electrigaz uses biogas to generate heat, electricity, and renewable natural gas. Injected into the natural gas grid, renewable natural gas (‘green gas’) is then provided to the consumer. Biogas technology provides solutions to environmental policies and the rising price of fuel, which creates greater potential and demand for biogas.

More and more green energy policies are coming into place, something Electrigaz certainly sees as a positive sign, while the overriding company goal is to continue promoting the benefits of biogas energy.

“People realize that there is a price associated with waste and we are paying more and more for it,” Camirand said. “There is a price for pollution.”

Committed to biogas, Electrigaz also continues to adapt to the renewables market as it continues to grow. Camirand summarized, “For us, as an engineering firm, we need to stay limber and not paint ourselves with a specific technology; we are staying abreast of all the technologies and processes and that is what we offer to our clients.”

Carbon tax

To level the playing field between renewable energy sources and fossil fuels, Camirand would like to see a carbon tax, or greenhouse gas penalty, to give a greater chance to the renewable sector. Camirand commented, “Unlike fossil fuels, there are multiple environmental benefits associated with biogas, making it very difficult for the two going head to head in a market not taxing carbon emissions.”

To develop the biogas and renewable market, Camirand advocates for a policy that embeds a fossil fuel liability into its price. Moving forward, Camirand believes biogas renewable technology can be developed locally and then sold across the border, but first he would like to see policies in place that encourage the development, creating a stepping stone for renewables to the export market.

“There is great potential for the Canadian market to be the showcase [for biogas],” Camirand said. “I think Canadians provide quite a bit of stewardship on the environmental front. I think this would be a great opportunity to export our biogas technologies and know-how to the United States and beyond.”

Achieving awareness

In the renewables market for a little more than seven years, the awareness of this industry, its technology, and its offering continues to grow. Electrigaz has grown significantly in recent years.

While the Canadian and North American markets mature, no single technology yet serves the entire biogas sector. Electrigaz, however, feels organic wastes dictate the process and the process dictates the technology to be used. “As an emerging market, like it is right now, we have a level of flexibility as a consultant, which is really key for us,” Camirand summarized. “Initially, there was not much awareness about this, but it is growing very rapidly and I think in a few years we will be the most prominent engineering firm specializing in biogas in North America.”