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By Brent Lyon

The Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) sector is at a pivotal stage here in Canada. Recent progress in the recognition of RNG’s role in moving us towards Net Zero, coupled with aggressive economic incentives have together positioned the sector for exponential growth. We haven’t even begun to tap into the economic potential that RNG could represent for Canada and North America as a whole.

Some have drawn parallels between the emerging RNG market to the Independent Power Producer (IPP) sector circa 2006 – a market that went from infancy to billion-dollar projects over a few years. When we compare Canada’s 45 operating agricultural digesters to Germany’s 10,000 facilities, the scale of the opportunity becomes clear. 

With the convergence of the key factors required for RNG to be successful we need to look towards action within the space to capitalize on the opportunity before us. There is need in the market for alternative energy sources, there are experienced players, such as Scovan Engineering, helping to guide the development of RNG projects and there is a map set out by European counterparts. Similarly, there are financial incentives in place that were nonexistent five years prior. So, how is Scovan approaching the opportunity? 

Renewable Natural Gas is quickly becoming a key pillar of Scovan’s business strategy, following on our focus of next generation energy solutions. Our agile teams and integrated solutions are have the unique ability to provide turnkey project solutions for our clients in conventional and emerging energy sectors. We have over 50 years of combined experience delivering engineering, fabrication and construction services in Canada. For RNG developers, our services go beyond the typical EPC services, our approach has been significantly customized to suit the rapid transformation the sector is experiencing and we have developed partnerships throughout the RNG project lifecycle. We connected with multiple European anaerobic digestion companies, allowing for our projects to benefit from the security of massive installation lists and performance guarantees. We are working with farmers to source feedstock in strategic locations across Western Canada. We are building relationships with carbon pricing and regulatory experts, as well as with the most experienced off-take agreement lawyers in Canada. Our background in the energy sector means that we also have existing relationships with utility companies who would not only act as off-takers, but also have interest in supplying capital.

Finally – and most importantly – we committed to a plan to scale. The utility companies looking to fund these projects and purchase RNG have made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in one-off pet projects. The survival of the sector is reliant on the ability of companies like ours to deliver not just one, but multiple concurrent projects allowing us to maximize economies of scale and reduce costs over time. We have committed to this scale directly to end users, allowing them to build long-term plans with confidence.

Developing markets, such as RNG, have significantly different needs compared to long-standing ones. At Scovan, we understand this and are proud to be proactively fostering the growth of the RNG sector in Canada. One more way Scovan is A New Energy. 

RNG explained:
Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and therefore can be used in natural gas vehicles. RNG is essentially biogas (the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter) that has been processed to purity standards. When organic waste like compost, cow manure or wood waste decomposes, it releases biogas into the atmosphere. That raw biogas can be captured and purified to create RNG. Farms, landfills, green energy companies and other suppliers capture biogas, which is mostly methane, along with carbon dioxide and small amounts of other gases. Because we’re capturing methane that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, and using it to make renewable energy, RNG is certified as a carbon neutral energy source.

The basic process of biogas production:

1. Anaerobic digestion:
– Organic waste is delivered to an oxygen-free, temperature-controlled environment, like a digester tank.
– Naturally occurring bacteria break down the organic waste, creating raw biogas as a byproduct of this digestion process. Biogas is primarily composed of methane, but it also contains between 25 and 50 per cent carbon dioxide and small quantities of other gases.

2. Purification:
– First, contaminant gases are removed through a careful gas cleaning process that leaves only methane and carbon dioxide.
– Then the carbon dioxide, which lowers the heating value of the gas, can be removed.
– Once the gas has been cleaned, it only contains methane and a small amount of nitrogen, making it almost impossible to distinguish from conventional natural gas. This purified biogas is called biomethane, or Renewable Natural Gas.

Why it matters:
Aside from the massive economic opportunity for Canada, RNG is playing a big role our environmental commitments to reach net zero by 2050.

Want to know more or discuss what we can bring to your project? 
Let’s connect.

Brent Lyon, Director Business Development
> [email protected]


Valerie Stewart, VP Business Development
> [email protected]