BioCycle January 2013, Vol. 54, No. 1, p. 19
Sacramento, California: Bioenergy Industry Association Formed
The Bioenergy Association of California (BAC) is a new association to promote sustainable bioenergy production in the state. Its renewable energy “umbrella” includes electricity, biogas, renewable liquid fuels, combined heat and power, and other energy generated from organic waste. “BAC is focused on promoting community-scale bioenergy generation from organic waste sources, including dairy and agricultural waste, food and food processing wastes, other organic urban wastes, wastewater treatment, forest biomass and water treatment gas and wastes,” explains Julia Levin, Executive Director. “We are advocating for legislation and regulatory policies such as feed-in tariffs, utility purchase requirements (SB 1122), funding programs such as EPIC and AB 118, and more. BAC will also be an active participant in proceedings on pipeline biogas, renewable transportation fuels, greenhouse gas reduction (AB 32) and other issues affecting the industry.”
Prior to joining BAC, Levin, served as Deputy Secretary for Climate Change and Energy at the California Resources Agency. In that position, she chaired the Governor’s Inter-Agency Bioenergy Working Group and led development of California’s 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan. She has also served on the California Energy Commission, where she was the presiding Commissioner on renewable energy and the associate Commissioner on energy efficiency.
Utica, New York: Brewery Installs Biogas-To-Power Plant
F. X. Matt Brewing Co., the second-oldest family brewery in the nation, received a $1 million incentive from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to install an anaerobic treatment system and combined heat and power equipment to generate electricity. In addition, the company is receiving a maximum of $750,000 in funding from National Grid, an electricity and gas utility, as well as federal tax credits. Total project cost is $5 million. The project will provide between 35 and 40 percent of the company’s daily power needs and reduce electricity costs by approximately $350,000 annually, according to a NYSERDA press release. It has an expected payback of five to six years. The brewery also will reduce the amount of wastewater that the local sewage treatment plant must process, further increasing the energy efficiency impact.
Matt produces about 330,000 barrels of beer and soda, or the equivalent of 4.5 million cases of 12-ounce bottles, annually. The company first committed to the project in 2010 with Environmental Management Group International, Inc. as the lead system design engineers. Construction on the digester system began in early 2012, with installation of a 200,000-gallon wastewater equalization tank, five 40,000-gallon Anaerobic Fluidized Bed Digester tanks and the power generation equipment. The system will treat an average of 150,000 gallons of water each day, or 50 million gallons/year, generating up to 400 kW-per-hour of electricity.
The NYSERDA funding comes from the Authority’s Anaerobic Digester Gas (ADG)-to-Electricity Program (PON 2684), which provides up to $1 million to support the purchase, installation and operation of ADG-to-Electricity Systems in New York State. A total of $57 million is available on a first-come, first-serve basis through 2015. Visit: www.nyserda.ny. gov/en/ Funding-Opportunities and search on PON 2684.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: New Codigestion Permit For Farm Digesters
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a new General Permit (WMGM042) that authorizes anaerobic digestion of animal manure on a farm mixed with grease trap waste (collected from restaurants or grocery stores) and preconsumer and postconsumer food waste from commercial or institutional establishments. The permit language states that the by-products must be beneficially used as follows: “Methane gas produced by the anaerobic digestion as fuel, including in the production of electricity; Waste solids removed from the digester as animal bedding material at the farm; and Liquid waste and solids removed from the digester as a soil additive for agricultural purposes.” If fats, oils, and grease are added to the digester, the liquid waste and solids may not be beneficially used as a soil additive if the concentration of fats, oils and grease exceeds 15,000 mg/l (milligram per liter). For each new food waste type that is proposed to be anaerobically digested under the authorization of this general permit (other than what is specified above), the permittee must “submit a written request to the appropriate Department Regional Office to conduct a short term trial project for a new waste type in a limited volume for a period of one year or less to determine the feasibility for the beneficial use of new waste type material under this general permit. The proposed trial project shall not be commenced, unless a written approval from the Department has been obtained.”
Surrey, British Columbia: Vehicle Grade Renewable Natural Gas
With a new curbside collection program underway and a tough diversion target to hit, Surrey, located near Vancouver, is making ambitious plans to generate biomethane from its organic wastes. This year, the suburban city of 500,000 will issue a Request for Proposals for a facility to produce vehicle-grade renewable natural gas from an annual 88,000 tons of kitchen, yard, food-industry and other organic wastes. The aim is a 2015 start-up. The project, estimated to cost $68 million and supported by $17 million from the Canadian government, is to be designed, built, financed, operated and maintained by a private company. The city will provide half the feedstock — kitchen and yard wastes from the new collection program — and the operator is to acquire the rest from the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors, says Rob Costanzo, Surrey’s deputy manager of operations.
The plant’s annual capacity is expected to be 400,000 gigajoules The biomethane would be used instead of compressed natural gas as the fuel for Surrey’s fleet of 52 waste collection trucks, purchased recently to replace diesel-powered models. Instead of being used directly to fuel the vehicles, the gas will be added to the pipeline grid operated by energy distributor FortisBC, a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., Canada’s largest investor-owned distribution utility. Fortis will pay for the amount it receives and Surrey will pay for what it consumes.
The project is expected to offset 25,350 tons annually of carbon dioxide emissions, offsetting Surrey’s annual corporate emissions of 17,600 tons and eliminating payments to the province’s carbon tax – now $30 per metric ton.
The city could also earn carbon credits if they are eventually implemented. Many decisions remain, including the type of digester technology to be selected, financial arrangements surrounding the organic waste disposal rate and revenues from gas and compost sales. “Much of how that will play out will be determined through the procurement process,” Costanzo notes. He adds that the 2015 start-up is crucial, as that is the deadline for 70 percent waste diversion and a ban on organics from landfills throughout Metro Vancouver, which includes Surrey, Vancouver and 22 other municipalities on British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.
Sacramento, California: Carbon Negative Fleet Fuel
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) studied the lifecycle analysis of diesel and substitutes for diesel, and adopted carbon intensity for each fuel type. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires a 10 percent reduction in fuel carbon intensity from 2010 to 2020. In a Regulatory and Market Report titled Beyond Waste, prepared by Edgar & Associates in Sacramento, “ultra-low sulfur diesel is 95 on the carbon intensity scale using units of g CO2e/MJ, and pipeline CNG is 75, a 22 percent reduction in greenhouse gases. CNG from landfill gas is 13 on the carbon intensity scale, or an 86 percent reduction in greenhouse gases.” Notes Evan Edgar of Edgar & Associates: “CARB staff has released a fuel path for renewable, or biogenic, CNG to be minus 15 for carbon intensity. Imagine CNG generated from the anaerobic digestion of food waste and green waste that is carbon negative, where the industry could have a carbon negative fleet run on the organic waste it collects. Back to the Future is Now!” Edgar will be discussing “carbon negative fuels” at BioCycle’s 27th Annual West Coast Conference, April 8-11, 2013 in San Diego, California (www.biocyclewestcoast.com).
Kansas City, Missouri: Biosolids Fertilize Biofuels Crops
Kansas City’s Water Services (KCWS) has generated $2.1 million in net income over the past six years by using biosolids as fertilizer on its city-run biofuels farm, according to the Kansas City Star. The city had been incinerating its biosolids, an energy-consuming process. It installed anaerobic digesters, and uses the biogas to generate electricity to power treatment plant operations. After first working with private farms to apply the biosolids, KCWS purchased 1,340 acres along the Missouri River, next to its Birmingham wastewater treatment plant, notes the newspaper report. Corn and soybeans are sold to biofuel producers.