Solid Waste & Recycling


Producer makes green energy from landfill gas

In just seven years since its inception, a small private Ontario company has grown to be one of the largest generat...

In just seven years since its inception, a small private Ontario company has grown to be one of the largest generators of energy from landfill gas in Canada. Together, the plants designed, built, owned and operated by Integrated Gas Recovery Services Inc. (IGRS) generate 19 megawatts (MW) equivalent of energy from landfill gas, enough to power approximately 20,000 homes.

Landfills generate gas as a by-product of the decomposition of waste. Approximately 50 per cent of this gas is methane. Typically, this gas is flared off or left to vent into the atmosphere, where it has the potential to produce odors and greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result, landfill gas has traditionally been a nuisance and cost to landfill operators. IGRS is able to turn the problem into an asset and generate renewable energy in the process.

IGRS builds and operates plants at landfill sites across Canada where gas is collected, processed and used as a fuel source. One plant, at a landfill in Niagara Falls, produces enough energy to provide approximately 35 per cent of the heat required for the newsprint operations at a nearby fibre paper mill.

Another IGRS plant, located at Mississauga’s closed Britannia Landfill, produces 5.5 MW of power, enough energy to power the nearby Village of Streetsville, Ontario.

More recently, IGRS has partnered with Energy Ottawa Inc. to develop a 5.3 MW power plant at the Trail Road Landfill in Ottawa. Another partnership, with St. Catharines Hydro Generation Inc., has resulted in the development of a 1.0 MW landfill gas-to-energy plant in Niagara Falls.

IGRS is also in various stages of development at a number of new facilities at landfills both within Ontario and in other provinces across Canada.

IGRS is a partnership between Walker Industries, a family-owned waste management company in Thorold, Ontario, and Comcor Environmental Ltd. based in Cambridge, Ontario. Comcor is an engineering firm that specializes in the management of landfill gas. The companies came together to form the partnership company, IGRS, to undertake a landfill gas project at Niagara Waste Systems Ltd., a landfill in Niagara Falls.

“We had an odour problem at our company’s Niagara Falls landfill and had hired a series of consultants who had studied the issue to death,” says Walker’s vice-president Mike Watt, who shares CEO duties at IGRS. “I realized after a year and a half that we were getting no where, so I called Walt Graziani, the president of Comcor. The Comcor team came out to the site, temporarily rigged up some piping and flared off the gas to resolve the problem. They actually came out to see us and did something constructive in an economical and practical way to get rid of the odour. I was impressed with that,” Watt says.

Watt further explains that the Comcor team then helped set up a permanent system to capture the landfill gas and turn it into usable energy, and then suggested that the two companies work together to do the same thing at other sites. The IGRS partnership was born in 2002 and has been developing new projects almost annually ever since. IGRS has now grown to the point of having annual revenues of over $10 million.

IGRS has established a solid track record in working with municipalities in public-private partnerships to address landfill gas problems through the beneficial use of landfill gas as a renewable energy source. The company was recently recognized by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships for its Britannia Landfill Gas to Energy Project.

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