$167 million facility will turn compost into power source for Montreal homes

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They say one person’s trash is another’s treasure but the city of Montreal is hoping that one person’s compost can help generate energy for parts of the city.

The City of Montreal currently collects more than 95,000 tonnes of compost each year, double that of five years ago. But Mayor Valerie Plante said the city is lagging behind provincial standards and currently must truck the compost off island to be processed.

“Right now we’re sending almost everything to the Joliette area, which is many kilometres outside Montreal,” she said.

To put a stop to that, Plante announced on Thursday a new facility will be built alongside Highway 40 that will convert 60,000 tonnes of compost each year into bio-fuel. The plan will cost $167 million to build and operate over its first five years and should be operational by 2022.

“Those 60,000 tonnes of residue will be converted into four million cubic metres of bio-methane each year,” she said. “This is enough natural gas to meet the energy needs of around 3,600 homes each year.”

The new facility is part of the Plante administration’s goal of making Montreal carbon neutral by 2050, alongside earlier announced measures such as banning oil and natural gas furnaces and divesting the city’s pension fund from fossil fuels.

“The fight against climate change is one that we must lead every day,” said Plante. “Every decision our administration makes resonates with the urgency to act.”

The bio-methanation facility will only process food waste produced in Montreal’s East End. In February, the agglomeration council approved a plan to build a $175 million compost facility in St-Laurent, which will service the western half of the island.