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Biomethanation of animal waste

Sanimax's Levis plant

Clients: Écolait and Sanimax

Biomethanation: using organic waste as an energy source

As they go about their daily business, manufacturers in the farming and agri-food industries produce animal and plant-based waste (fruit and vegetable peels, animal innards, oils, abattoir sludge) that must be disposed of.

The cost of burying or incinerating this waste is constantly rising, mainly due to high transportation costs and tighter regulations.

Repurposing organic waste
Écolait, a Saint-Hyacinthe business specializing in milk-fed veal, and Industries Sanimax Inc., a business specializing in rendering and recycling, asked CRIQ to explore different ways they could repurpose their organic waste.

A team at CRIQ conducted pilot tests on the potential of biomethanation at its laboratories in Québec City. Biomethanation is an organic breakdown process that occurs in the absence of oxygen. It generates biogas, which is then recovered.

Since these biogases contain methane, they can be used as energy sources in the same way as natural gas. Businesses that opt for biomethanation can also use the biogas they produce to heat their facilities, operate generators, or fuel their vehicles.

Conclusive tests
Performed in a 100 L bioreactor, the tests performed by CRIQ aimed to develop a technology-based solution designed to optimize biogas production returns. These highly conclusive tests produced returns that were twice as high as those suggested in the reference materials.

From an optimization perspective, CRIQ also established a partnership with the Institut national d’optique to develop an optical fibre sensor designed to measure certain parameters and more closely monitor the fermentation process in a bioreactor.

Tests have shown the biomethanation of organic waste to be a very promising option for businesses looking to repurpose their organic waste and cut operating costs at the same time.

In conducting these tests, CRIQ developed cutting-edge expertise to help businesses across the farming and agri-food sectors acquire greater energy autonomy, while becoming more environmentally responsible and producing green energy.