On October 2, 2021, we held the first-ever ZooShare Biogas Plant Tours! We were so excited to finally get the chance to invite visitors to the plant and are so thrilled with the turnout.
Attendees spent the tour exploring the biogas plant, taking a first-hand look at the various steps involved in the creation of biogas, asking questions and learning from experienced ZooShare team members. Thank you to everyone who attended the tours, your interest and enthusiasm meant the world to us. The event ran very smoothly and our team had a blast putting it together. We can’t wait to host the rest of the ZooShare membership at the plant in the near future.
ZooShare has also hosted many community leaders over the past few months.
We would like to thank MP Gary Anandasangaree, MPP Raymond Cho, MPP – Minister of Energy Todd Smith and MPP Vijay Thanigasalam for visiting the ZooShare Biogas Plant. We look forward to continuing to work together with our community and our representatives to create a more sustainable future.
We began to generate and export power to the Ontario grid on April 1st and reached our 500 kW capacity for the first time on April 12th. We are now generating revenues from processing food waste into biogas and then generating power. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, we are now planning to hold a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony in the summer. For now, here’s a sneak peak:
Inside the biogas plant digester, about 1,900 cubic meters of organic “waste” is being digested! The bubbles are the biogas coming up from the slurry.
ZooShare Bonds are Back!
– Earn 5% for 5 years or 5.5% for 15 years
This is our first bond offering since 2016. These bonds will be used to redeem and refinance maturing community bonds.
So far, we have sold $2.1M worth of bonds to current investors and people who signed up for our waiting list. Only 50% of bonds remain!
The Offering Statement will expire on June 30, 2021.
While our Founder and Executive Director, Daniel Bida, continues to be involved at a project level, our new Co-operative General Manager, Rob Grand, is taking over all of Daniel’s co-op related responsibilities: Rob will work with the Board to lead the co-op as we enter this next phase of operations.
About Rob: Rob Grand is an experienced entrepreneur and business manager with expertise creating, developing, and consulting with successful businesses, social enterprises, and non-profits in the Environmental and Renewable Energy sectors. Rob has served as a Director and Advisor to more than a dozen organizations including the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Green Enterprise Toronto, The Coalition for a Green Economy, and the LFP Foundation. Outside of the office, Rob coaches hockey, teaches skiing, paddles whitewater, hikes trails, climbs rocks, and can often be found with camping gear strapped to his touring bike.
If you would like to introduce yourself to Rob and welcome him to the team, or if you have any questions, please send Rob an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a hike!
(Literally, in Rouge National Urban Park.)
Want to see the biogas plant in-person, from a safe distance? Check out the trail next to the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre (AKA Pearse House) at 1749 Meadowvale Road: There are 3 trails in Rouge National Urban Park, ranging from 1.5km to 3.5km, and the best view of the biogas plant is just a couple of minutes from the trail head! Please note that while we plan to offer supervised tours in the future, the biogas plant is an industrial site and members of the public are not allowed. Please stay on the trail. Click here for directions and parking information.
Above: Sights from the Rouge National Urban Park. Please share your photos of the trail and snaps of the biogas plant: #ZooShare and #rougeNUP.
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, everywhere. With a province-wide lockdown announced this week, we are grateful to have a more uplifting announcement of our own to share:
This month, we completed construction of the biogas plant! The site is currently undergoing final inspections, after which we expect to generate power and export it to the grid in late February. We are tentatively planning a ribbon cutting ceremony for the summer, and will keep you posted as the new year progresses.
Current ZooShare investors have continued to demonstrate strong support and loyalty to our project: we have sold over $1.5 million of new bonds. If you would like to get on the waiting list for new bonds (that earn 5% or 5.5% depending on the term), please sign up here.
Yesterday, on November 12, 2019, ZooShare met with senior officials from Oshawa Power and The Toronto Zoo to celebrate a newly inked strategic partnership that will make significant Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions a reality at the Toronto Zoo. We are joining forces with Oshawa PUC Energy Services (OPUCES), a municipally-owned sustainable energy corporation to complete the final milestone of the Toronto Zoo Biogas Project. This unique collaboration also includes the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Fund, which will contribute $2.7 million over this phase and a planned expansion of the facility.
These new funds are in the form of a multi-year grant, totaling $2.67 million. It will enable us to double ZooShare’s processing capacity from 17,000 tonnes of organics per year to 30,000+ tonnes, doubling our positive impact on the environment.
With this grant in place, we will continue with our plans to complete construction this year and reach commercial operations in Spring 2020. We will also begin planning the facility’s expansion, which includes a second digestion tank, and the capacity to inject renewable natural gas (RNG) into nearby pipelines.
We’re incredibly thankful to the ECCC, and MP Gary Anandasangaree (Scarborough-Rouge Park). Their support will help realize our shared vision of diverting organic waste away from landfills, and using it to produce renewable energy.
We are very pleased to share that on Wednesday July 18th, we successfully commissioned our Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit and demonstrated ZooShare’s ability to export power to the Ontario grid–thus meeting the final milestone of our Feed-In-Tariff contract! We now look forward to moving ahead with the next phase of construction.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our partner, Miller Waste Systems Inc., for their incredible dedication to this project. They assisted in completing project designs, securing permits, coordinating vendors and managing the construction work at the site, which required 12+ hour work-days everyday for 3 weeks. A huge, huge thank you.
We would also like to thank the following organizations and partners who assisted us in reaching this milestone:
ANF Energy Solutions
Northern Building Contractors
R.A Graham Electrical Contractors
The Toronto Zoo
Total Power Limited
On a sombre note, you may have heard that the Ontario government recently cancelled 758 renewable energy projects, including 15 biogas plants. ZooShare is not among them. While our contract remains in good standing, we support the Canadian Biogas Association’s stance that, “this decision ignores the environmental benefits [of] clean, safe, locally-generated renewable energy and the many economic benefits including sustainable job creation within Ontario farms, agri-food businesses, and municipalities and millions of dollars of investment in local communities.”
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out by clicking the email icon at the top of this screen, or calling the 1-800 number, above.
The ZooShare Team
Daniel, Paul U., Chris, Melissa, John, Victoria, and Paul W.
We are excited to announce that the first piece of our biogas plant has arrived!
On Wednesday, May 9th, our Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit, the engine that will generate electricity from zoo poo and food waste, was delivered to the ZooShare site across from the Toronto Zoo.
The unit arrived in two shipping containers from Europe.
ZooShare’s Executive Director, Daniel Bida, was there in-person to meet the delivery. “It was an exciting moment. The CHP is an essential piece of our project, and as the first piece of equipment to arrive, it is the first step towards construction,” he said.
ZooShare’s Executive Director, Daniel Bida, was there to meet the delivery of the engine that will turn poo into power.
So, how does this engine work? Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is the simultaneous production of electrical power and heat. First, biogas powers the engine, then the engine runs an alternator (an electrical generator) which creates renewable power for the Ontario grid. The rotation of the alternator also produces heat–and unlike conventional technologies that waste it by letting it float off into the atmosphere–the efficient CHP unit will capture that heat and use it to warm the ZooShare tanks and buildings on site.
The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit.
The next steps are to connect the CHP unit to the Ontario grid, and then construct the tanks and buildings that make up the rest of the biogas plant.
Make sure to sign up for our newsletter (if you haven’t already) to make sure you are receiving the latest updates from us. We look forward to sharing our progress with you!
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Summer is here! Soon you will see us at an event, handing out information about ZooShare. Did you know the materials we use are sustainably printed and that the recycled paper is made using power from a biogas plant?
If you’ve seen us at an event, these materials will look familiar. We printed them with Warren’s Waterless, who received the paper products from Rolland.
ZooShare is a client of Warren’s Waterless, the most eco-friendly printer in Toronto. “We are a 0-discharge plant, both in air and water emissions, and our inks (exclusive to Waterless) are 100% VOC-free,” says Glenn Laycock, the Vice President Account Director of Warren’s Waterless. While many printers may advertise themselves as “green”, in reality they are green-washed: The industry standard is to offer the option of recycled paper and to use vegetable-based inks, so most “green” printers are just regular printers with a different marketing strategy. What you won’t hear is that “[a traditional] 40-inch printing press will discharge 80,000 litres of waste-water sludge down the drain per year,” says Glenn. He was so frustrated by so-called “green” printers that during a staff meeting he exclaimed, “environmental printing is more than recycled paper!” which consequently became the company’s trademarked slogan.
The company started out as a film shop, but as film started to disappear, they transitioned into a printing company. “We got into waterless because of the higher quality print,” says Glenn, “but we very quickly shot ourselves in the foot, because if you advertise yourself as a high quality printer, there’s implied cost.” As the company began to recognize the environmental benefits of waterless printing, they built on their environmental identity, receiving numerous environmental certifications and powering their entire plant with Bullfrog Power. “When we started marketing ourselves as an eco-printer, we very quickly shot ourselves in the other foot, because there’s implied cost.” But there isn’t extra cost: Warren’s Waterless doesn’t buy the chemicals and additives needed by a traditional printer, nor do they pay for water. Warren’s found a loyal following in the not-for-profit community. “It’s been fantastic for us, we are incredibly busy,” says Glenn.
Glenn Laycock, Vice President Account Director of Warren’s Waterless, at their printing house in Toronto.
In addition to being a waterless, 0-discharge plant using safer inks and supporting renewable energy, Warren’s Waterless uses Rolland paper products: “Paper of virgin fibre is substantially cheaper than recycled paper,” explains Glenn. “Cascades [now Rolland] was the first one to come along with a recycled sheet that got the price point closer to where clients would go ‘ok, I’ll spend a few dollars more’, now they got the price point in where it’s almost a wash between a virgin sheet and their sheet.”
The landfill site from which Rolland gets its biogas.
Rolland is the only fine paper manufacturer to use biogas in North America. The Rolland website explains, “energy is a major factor in determining a paper’s environmental impact…As a renewable energy source derived from local landfill methane, biogas drives our carbon footprint to the lowest levels in the industry.” Their biogas is transported from a nearby landfill via an 8-mile pipeline to fulfill 93% of the paper mill’s needs, reducing their CO2 emissions by 70,000 tons, or 23,400 compact cars, annually.
“Using biogas at our plant has allowed us to stabilize our energy supply and to reduce our costs. Despite the tremendous initial investment, this project is, simply put, profitable,” explains Julie Loyer, Commnication and Sustainable Development Manager at Rolland. She writes: “The idea to use biogas in this way did not come from paid consultants, or even from Rolland’s own scientists, but rather from a single, curious and passionate employee. It was the director of purchases at that time who had the idea while watching a television program on the reduction of greenhouse gases. He dug a little deeper only to discover that his idea had some potential for Rolland…Eventually, several departments and specialists – both internal and external – had to get involved, and millions of dollars had to be invested to implement this. The birth of such a massive project, which involved a non-traditional process of inspiration and execution, was made possible by a company’s open leadership that continues to leave room for its employees to generate and develop new ideas.”
So there you have it: Recycled paper is created at Rolland, powered by their biogas plant, where it is then sustainably printed at Warren’s Waterless into ZooShare brochures, that end up in your hands…We look forward to seeing you at our next event!
On April 19th 2016 at 9:30am we gathered with our members, The Toronto Zoo, Bullfrog Power, and TREC Education to celebrate the groundbreaking of the ZooShare biogas plant. Speakers included the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, the Chair of the Toronto Zoo board, Councilor Raymond Cho, and the CEO of Bullfrog Power, Ron Seftel. Media at the event included Global News, CityNews, The National Post, The Scarborough Mirror and more!
The event was held at the ZooShare site, on the east side of Meadowvale Road, across from the Toronto Zoo.
It was a great turn out!
Paul Ungerman, ZooShare’s Board Chair, was the MC for the event. “We’ve all come here today, during the start of Earth Week, to mark the start of construction of our 500 KW community owned biogas plant, right here at the Toronto Zoo…Thank you. Thank you for your support, commitment and help in reaching this major milestone…It’s not often an easy choice to invest with your heart, but we’re really glad you made it.”
Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, congratulated ZooShare on their project, saying the plant was part of a province-wide shift to renewable energies. “You’re showing leadership, you’re showing excitement for the community, you’re giving new life to the zoo,” he said. [Source: http://goo.gl/k8rbSJ]
Councillor Raymond Cho, Chair of the Toronto Zoo board, said the biogas plant off Meadowvale Road perfectly fits the zoo’s strategy of turning itself into a conservation centre of excellence. [source: http://goo.gl/k8rbSJ]
Ron Seftel, CEO of Bullfrog Power (our Education Sponsor) said “We really believe it’s the way of the future.”
From left to right: John Tracogna (CEO of The Toronto Zoo), Councillor Raymond Cho (Toronto Zoo Board Chair), Ron Seftel (CEO of Bullfrog Power), Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli, Paul Ungerman (ZooShare Board Chair), Daniel Bida (ZooShare ED) and Toronto Zoo Board members Paul Doyle and Councillor Paul Ainslie.
ZooShare members lined up for their big media-moment.
ZooShare members, family and friends, gather around a pile of what will soon be one of the ZooShare biogas plant’s by-products: a high nutrient fertilizer created from zoo poo.
A pile of compost lit up by the morning sun. (It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.)
ZooShare’s Executive Director Daniel Bida and ZooShare’s Sales and Marketing Manager Frances Darwin, dig in.
A manure truck leaves the ZooShare site, soon to be back with fresh ingredients for the compost…By the end of the year, the manure will be fuel for the ZooShare biogas plant.
Right now, we are facing a decision that will affect Toronto for the next 50 years. How will we deal with the city’s waste?
A future vision of Toronto. Credit: Flickr/Daniel Calero Jimenez 2014
Over the next 6 months, members of the public and city councillors alike will discuss and debate the fate of Toronto’s waste via the proposed Long Term Waste Management Strategy. At ZooShare, we firmly believe that there is no such thing as “waste”, only wasted resources. But how does a city like Toronto implement this philosophy into a 50-year plan?
A Zero Waste future is “a future where there is no waste, where everything is designed to be reused or to become the materials and resources to create something new”.1 As you know, at ZooShare we’ll be doing just that. There are other local examples too: Take our former contest partners Furniture Bank and/or Toronto Tool Library (read more about each of us in the report). We are all examples of local businesses participating in the circular economy, “where unwanted materials are not disposed in a landfill or incinerator, but…keep valuable resources circulating in the local economy, supporting good green jobs, benefitting the community and reducing harmful environmental impacts”.2
Credit: Toronto Environmental Alliance “Zero Waste Toronto A Vision for Our City” 2016 Page 7
But Toronto still has a ways to go. According to TEA’s report, a lot less could be going to landfills, especially organic waste (food, plant and yard waste). Despite the Green Bin and Yard Composing programmes, 182,000 tonnes of organics are still put in the garbage and sent to the landfill each year!4 This is why waste Education and Effective Communications is one of the priorities outlined in TEA’s report.
Credit: Toronto Environmental Alliance “Zero Waste Toronto A Vision for Our City” 2016 Page 15
Toronto is ready to take the next step towards a zero-waste future. As outlined in TEA’s report: “We have the programs and infrastructure to reduce, reuse and recycle almost all of our waste. We have an excited and robust group of businesses and communities ready to scale up with creative solutions that support a circular economy. Now is the time to continue our zero waste journey.”5
Hopefully, in 2066, Torontonians will be living in a zero-waste city. Make it happen. Do your part now.
1 Toronto Environmental Alliance “Zero Waste Strategy A Vision for Our City” 2016 Page 03
2 Toronto Environmental Alliance “Zero Waste Strategy A Vision for Our City” 2016 Page 06
3 Toronto Environmental Alliance “Zero Waste Strategy A Vision for Our City” 2016 Page 16
4 Toronto Environmental Alliance “Zero Waste Strategy A Vision for Our City” 2016 Page 18
5 Toronto Environmental Alliance “Zero Waste Strategy A Vision for Our City” 2016 Page 24