California Energy Commission Funds RNG Projects

| USA: Sacramento CA | Source: California Energy Commission

The  California Energy Commission has approved grants for demonstration projects that will apply innovative thinking to the production of renewable natural gas for transport applications from food waste and forest residue. Apart from a raft of technology goals, the success of these projects will also increase the supply of in-state natural gas; 90% of California’s supply currently arrives via pipeline from interstate.

The Energy Commission approved a $2 million grant to Technology & Investment Solutions to demonstrate a more sustainable and cost-effective process of creating biomethane from food waste at an existing anaerobic digester in El Mirage. The fuel produced is expected to power a local fleet of waste hauling trucks.

According to the Grant Request Form (GRF), the goal of this Agreement is to demonstrate an innovative, low-energy, in-situ biogas upgrading technology that has virtually zero emissions and will eliminate CO2 emissions and flaring of by-products from biogas upgrading. Specifically, this project will demonstrate the use of a hydrogen extraction process derived from biogas via a catalytic dry reformer. The hydrogen can be injected in a digester to create biomethane consisting of up to 90% methane.

This demonstration will be the first in California to use this type of hydrogen injection technology, and the concept can potentially be built upon for mass-scale commercialization of wider applications in the future.

The Technology & Investment Solutions project was funded by the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program, which supports clean transportation innovation.

The Energy Commission awarded a $2 million grant to West Biofuels and $1,999,695 to Taylor Energy for projects demonstrating innovative technologies to produce renewable gas using wood waste from trees killed by the state’s bark beetle infestation and drought.

West Biofuels: The GRF states this project aims to demonstrate new technology that will allow for the in-state production of RG. Diversification of natural gas and RG will help support the reliability and resiliency of the gas system.

Additionally, projects that support sustainable forest management will reduce the risk of infrastructure damage from wildfire. The Sierra Nevada region supplies more than 60 percent of the state’s fresh water supply. Health of the forested landscape is critical to reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires that damage watersheds, soil retention and stability, and water hold capacity.

The project will produce RG with a carbon intensity of 75 percent below that of fossil natural gas. Additionally, the project will support the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants through the reduction of open-pile burning.

Taylor Energy: This company will seek to deliver affordable renewable natural gas. “In order to generate renewable pipeline-quality natural gas from California’s abundant forest residues technology breakthroughs are needed that enable techno-economic advancements”, the GRF states.

Taylor Energy plans to:

  • Convert pelletized forest residues into renewable NG.
  • Evaluate methane production catalysts and select an optimum catalyst.
  • Produce renewable gases that are suitable for production of pipeline-quality NG and test the system operation for 500 hours.
  • Produce a 2.5-scfm slip-stream demonstrating pipeline-quality gas composition suitable for injection into Subcontractor’s NG grid.
  • Produce renewable gas with heat content between 990 – 1150 British Thermal Units per Standard Cubic Feet (BTU/scf) with low sulfur content.

The West Biofuels and Taylor Energy projects were funded by the Energy Commission’s Natural Gas Research Program, which invests in technologies and solutions that help the natural gas sector support California’s energy and environmental goals.

More details are available by clicking here (go to May 15 Agenda).

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