Canadian Biomass Magazine

Gaz Métro demo unit turns biomass into renewable natural gas

July 12, 2016
By Gaz Métro

July 12, 2016 – Gaz Métro and G4 Insights have developed a unique conversion process that turns forestry biomass into second-generation renewable natural gas.

Demonstration unit to transform forestry biomass into natural gas. Gaz Métro and G4 Insights have developed a unique conversion process that turns forestry biomass into second-generation renewable natural gas.

Working out of the Natural Gas Technologies Centre in Boucherville, Que., Gaz Métro and G4 used a thermochemical process called PyroCatalytic Hydrogenation (PCH) to transform wood chips from Québec into renewable natural gas. The process has been demonstrated over the last several months and is now ready to be tested in a larger pilot project that will produce greater volumes.

“With this small-scale project, we proved that PCH is technologically viable. It is now essential that we press ahead with our efforts, so as to determine how we can improve the process even further and increase its production potential,” said Martin Imbleau, vice-president of development and renewable energies at Gaz Métro. “Our goal is to use forestry biomass and produce a ‘green’ energy supply of Québec-sourced and renewable natural gas. This natural gas, over the coming years, could be used locally or injected into our network to supplement the renewable natural gas being generated by the biomethanization projects of Québec municipalities that have opted to transform organic waste into energy.”

Energy innovation: a priority
Gaz Métro is constantly thinking of innovative ways to supply its customers and contribute to Québec’s sustainable economic development. Accordingly, it places particular importance on energy innovation, by developing or adopting new approaches and new, more powerful technologies, and by creating renewable energy projects that will make it possible to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Québec.

“Our project on renewable natural gas from forest biomass is well aligned with the spirit of Québec’s 2030 Energy Policy. It’s one more tangible example of our determination to leverage our expertise and leadership for the sake of energy innovation and transition,” Imbleau said.

About Gaz Métro
With more than $7 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is a leading energy provider. It is the largest natural gas distribution company in Québec, where its network of over 10,000 km of underground pipelines serves some 300 municipalities and more than 200,000 customers. Gaz Métro is also present in Vermont, where it has more than 310,000 customers. There, it operates in the electricity production market and the electricity and natural gas distribution market. Gaz Métro is actively involved in developing and operating innovative, promising energy projects, including natural gas as fuel, liquefied natural gas as a replacement for higher emission-producing energies, the production of wind power and the development of biomethane. Gaz Métro is a major energy sector player that takes the lead in responding to the needs of its customers, regions and municipalities, local organizations, and communities while also satisfying the expectations of its partners (GMi and Valener) and employees.

About G4 Insights
G4 Insights is a renewable energy technology company based in Burnaby, B.C. G4 is developing PyroCatalytic Hydrogenation (PCH) technology for large-scale, economical production of renewable natural gas (RNG) from forest biomass. The proprietary G4 process uses fast pyrolysis techniques and a catalyst to transform forest biomass thermochemically into renewable natural gas.

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