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Greening initiatives

The Government of Canada is committed to reducing its environmental footprint. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is pursuing tangible greening initiatives in support of government-wide environmental goals. These initiatives reduce carbon emissions and waste to help protect the marine environment. To achieve our goals, we are working with Canadian green industries as well as international partners.

Over the past decades, we have worked with industry partners to find innovative ways to reduce waste throughout a CCG vessel's operational life. We are also exploring a variety of low carbon alternative fuels for use in our fleet including biodiesel, renewable diesel, battery-hybrid solutions, hydrogen, alternative service delivery models, future remote energy solutions, and more.

Ecological wastewater treatment systems

After nearly a decade of research and engineering work with Canadian company Terragon Environmental Technologies, we introduced the world's first Sewage Wastewater Electrochemical Treatment Technology System (WETT-S) in Spring 2023. It is now in operation on the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Earl Grey.

As opposed to traditional wastewater systems, the new sewage wastewater electrochemical treatment system does not rely on disposable filters. This Canadian-made cutting-edge clean technology eliminates about 75% more of the suspended solids, removing significant amounts of heavy metals and other harmful particles in the wastewater that can pollute our oceans and waterways. The small amounts of remaining waste are held in special tanks on board the ship and then disposed in environmentally responsible ways.

The installation of the Sewage Wastewater Electrochemical Treatment Technology System follows a previous installation of a WETT-O system for the treatment of oily water aboard the CCGS Earl Grey and CCGS Terry Fox.

In test-proofing these systems, we hope not only to outfit our fleet with environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment systems, but that the technology gets adopted by commercial shippers.

Biodiesel and renewable diesel trials

In 2022 and 2023, we achieved two firsts for the Government of Canada by conducting trials on the CCGS Caribou Isle, testing 20% and then 100% biodiesel respectively. Our fleet is also increasingly moving towards renewable diesel. In 2023, the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier journeyed to the Arctic using a 30% renewable diesel blend.

Biofuels have much lower net greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil fuels. Biodiesel and renewable diesel are produced from organic matter, largely unsuitable for food or feed. In addition to reduced emissions, the biofuel trials confirmed no adverse effects on vessel performance.

As crews get more experienced with eco-friendly fuels, biodiesel and renewable diesel are becoming more common across our fleet and remain essential for our voyage to ‘Net Zero by 2050’.

Construction of the first diesel-electric hybrid vessel

In addition to testing greener fuels, we are ordering the construction of a new Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessel (NSFRV) equipped with a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system with battery energy storage system to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Following the design and engineering work, we are now holding an open bidding process to find the company that will build this vessel, the first of its kind for the Canadian Coast Guard. The successful bidder will incorporate Canadian innovative green technologies in the construction.

Future Energy Solutions pilot project

We are also testing renewable and hybrid power at our remote Marine Communications and Traffic Services sites. The goal is to transition away from diesel generators currently used to power over 40 remote radio communications sites across the West Coast. Renewable and hybrid power systems will dramatically reduce the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with operating and transporting fuel to these critical facilities.

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