Food banks & renewable energy utility join forces to fight hunger & climate change: Target zero by-products, zero emissions & zero hunger

    Plan Zero will convert millions of tonnes of food industry surplus and
    by-products into renewable energy while supporting those most in need

    TORONTO, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) and
StormFisher Biogas, an Ontario-based renewable energy utility, have joined
forces to launch Plan Zero, a province-wide social enterprise that will
generate renewable electricity from food industry surplus and by-products that
are destined for landfills.
    Plan Zero will work with food industry producers, growers and
manufacturers to direct organic by-products to StormFisher's biogas production
facilities - called anaerobic digesters - which accelerate the decomposition
of organic matter to create biogas for use in producing electricity, natural
gas and heat. Plan Zero will direct a portion of the proceeds from the sale of
energy to Ontario's electricity grid to the OAFB.
    StormFisher's anaerobic digesters can produce energy using a wide range
of organic materials, from used cooking oils to cow manure. The company also
formed relationships with farms, food processing facilities, universities and
technology providers. Its first three biogas facilities are currently in early
development in London, Drayton and Port Colborne, Ont. and will be operational
by 2009.
    "Today, millions of tonnes of organic by-products generated in Ontario go
to landfills unnecessarily," said Ryan Little, Vice President of Business
Development, StormFisher Biogas. "Plan Zero will help food manufacturers
improve their environmental efforts and bottom line while supporting food
banks in their work to relieve hunger across Ontario."
    Plan Zero also provides a way for food industry producers, growers and
manufacturers to direct surplus food products to the provincial food bank
network. This surplus product will be distributed to food banks in over
100 communities throughout Ontario. Under Plan Zero, StormFisher and the OAFB
will secure long-term agreements with food industry producers, growers and
manufacturers that are looking for an environmental and economically
beneficial alternative for disposing of their organic by-products.
    "Plan Zero represents a powerful social enterprise initiative for the
food industry as a single gateway for their surplus food and by-products,"
said Adam Spence, Executive Director of the OAFB. "But this is not just a
smart business decision. As a social enterprise, Plan Zero is also a
meaningful way for businesses to fight climate change and hunger at the same
    Generating electricity from biogas involves capturing the gas produced by
the decomposition of organic matter such as food by-products in anaerobic
digesters - large holding tanks deprived of oxygen. The decomposition creates
a mix of methane and carbon dioxide ("biogas") with the methane subsequently
captured and burned to power an electricity generator. The energy created by
the generator can then be fed directly into the electrical grid and sold to
the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to supply the province's electricity demand.
    "As a company that works both with the OAFB and StormFisher, we know the
value of putting food that won't be sold to a good use," said Chris Swartz,
Director of Warehousing, Gordon Food Service Canada. "This is a program that
just makes sense."
    StormFisher has announced agreements to create renewable electricity in
partnership with a number of food processing companies in Ontario. One such
partnership, with Inniskillin Wines, will create renewable electricity from
the winery's grape by-products. About 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of winery
by-products previously destined to a landfill will be given a new use as a
fuel. Methane gas produced by the decomposition of grape pomace will be
captured and used to generate power for homes in the Niagara region.

For further information:

PLEASE CONTACT: Natalie Bomberry, Pilot PMR, (416) 462-0199, ext. 35, (647)
880-9769, Email:

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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