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EverGen chief executive officer Chase Edgelow said the company saw public trading as a great opportunity.

Naturally Illustrated Photography/Courtesy of EverGen

A company that aims to assemble a national network of renewable natural gas plants at landfill and compost sites is set to begin trading on Wednesday in a $20-million initial public offering.

Vancouver-based EverGen Infrastructure Corp. was formed last year by a group of finance, private-equity and infrastructure professionals. The company acquires and constructs facilities that capture methane emissions from municipal and agricultural waste.

EverGen sells the methane as biogas to natural gas distributors under long-term contracts. Because the gas comes from renewable sources, and because its capture prevents raw methane from being released into the atmosphere, many buyers view it as environmentally friendly.

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Including the proceeds from its IPO on the TSX Venture Exchange, EverGen has raised a total of $60-million through the pandemic. It has acquired three sites in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, most recently one that has been operating for about a decade in Abbottsford. It joins a growing number of businesses in Canada with operations that turn waste into heating or transportation fuel.

“We saw this great opportunity in our own backyard that we all had been sort of touching around the edges of,” EverGen chief executive officer Chase Edgelow said in an interview.

“It’s sort of seamlessly turned into a much larger enterprise. It’s been a challenge in the middle of COVID to get things done. But I think it’s also been an advantage for us given that we’re local and we can go and meet with existing asset owners.”

In April, the company acquired the Fraser Valley Biogas project, which digests manure and other farm waste and sells the resulting biogas to the FortisBC distribution network.

Also that month, EverGen announced it had signed a 20-year agreement to sell gas to FortisBC, beginning when EverGen completes a gas-capture project at its Net Zero Waste Abbotsford processing facility. The company is also developing a project at the Sea to Sky Soils facility near Whistler, B.C.

EverGen plans to spend $200-million over the next two years adding facilities across the country and expanding its existing ones. The company decided to go public, Mr. Edgelow said, because it saw demand for environmentally and socially responsible investments.

“What we saw was a real fit for our company – the scale in terms of the build-out over the next couple years,” said Mr. Edgelow, who previously spent 11 years scouting for investments and merger and acquisition opportunities for Macquarie Group.

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His co-founders are Mischa Zajtmann, who was a partner at Kepis & Pope Financial Group; renewable energy veteran Sean Mezei; and former oil executive Ford Nicholson.

Other Canadian companies are producing fuel from waste, including Montreal-based Enerkem Inc., which manufactures renewable methanol and ethanol from municipal solid waste. Enerkem, which has garnered investments from Suncor Energy Inc., has a commercial-size project in Edmonton and is developing ventures in Quebec, the Netherlands and Spain.

Last month, Calgary-based Atco Ltd. announced it had partnered with Future Fuels Ltd. to build a renewable natural gas facility north of Vegreville, Alta. The plant will produce fuel from agricultural and organic municipal waste. Emissions Reduction Alberta, a provincial agency, has committed $7.9-million to the project.

EverGen’s IPO is being led by Desjardins Securities Inc., Clarus Securities Inc., Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. and RBC Dominion Securities Inc.

Jeffrey Jones writes about sustainable finance and the ESG Sector for The Globe and Mail. Email him at jeffjones@globeandmail.com.

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