Pete Schouten | Fraser Valley Biogas
Credit: Fraser Valley Biogas

Pete Schouten | Fraser Valley Biogas

Pete Schouten, Fraser Valley Biogas

Pete Schouten takes his trash to a whole new level

Pete Schouten is an owner/partner in Naturally Homegrown Foods Ltd., and Fraser Valley Biogas, which creates renewable natural gas (RNG) from the waste collected on his 600-acre farm. As a fourth generation potato farmer, Schouten is passionate about what goes into his potato chips; but equally important to him is how his operation handles the waste from its crops.

That is why Schouten and his partner Wes Heppell are one of a handful of local innovators and business owners in the province who are turning waste into RNG and working with FortisBC to add it into their pipelines.

Waste Management Naturally

“When bacteria breaks down organic waste from sources like landfill sites, farms and waste water treatment facilities, they create biogas,” explains Schouten.

The entrepreneur uses the waste from Naturally Homegrown Foods, his potato farm and other neighbouring farms to create biogas. Fraser Valley Biogas heats and mixes organic waste together, which provides the perfect environment for the bacteria to break down and release the biogas that would normally evaporate into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas emission

Think Green

FortisBC encourages businesses and homeowners to support RNG by subscribing to the program. As a customer, you can designate 10 per cent of the natural gas you use as renewable natural gas. FortisBC will then inject the equivalent amount of renewable natural gas into its system.

It’s a win-win situation – reduce your carbon footprint and support sustainable energy made right here in the province. FortisBC now takes the biogas and injects it into its pipelines.

For a homeowner, with a typical sized home, the average cost for RNG is about $5 more per month. And because it’s carbon neutral, subscribers also benefit from a 10 per cent credit on the B.C. carbon tax, and are eligible to earn AIR MILES® reward miles.

Biogas Facilities on the Rise

According to Scott Gramm, business development manager at FortisBC, there are currently two biogas facilities in operation – Fraser Valley Biogas and the Salmon Arm Landfill plants. The Salmon Arm Landfill is owned and operated by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).

A Kelowna landfill is slated to come on line by the end of the year.

“The City of Kelowna will own the landfill, also called the Glenmore Landfill, but FortisBC is building a purification plant on the premises that we will operate,” says Gramm.

In addition, FortisBC has the approval to purchase RNG from four additional projects, which are now going ahead.

“Within two years, we should have seven biogas plants in operation,” adds Gramm.

The environmental benefits of RNG are many, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions of a regular home in B.C. by as much as half a tonne a year and by contributing to the development of renewable and sustainable energy right here in the province, just to name a few advantages.

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