BioCycle September 2018
Baltimore, Maryland: New Animal Waste To Energy Grants
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced the opening of the FY19 Animal Waste to Energy Grant Program (AWE Grant Program). MEA has made up to $6 million available in two Areas of Interest — on-farm/pilot scale and a community/regional scale. Businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits in Maryland are eligible. Up to $4 million in grants will be made available to the pilot or on-farm scale projects with capacities of less than 2MW. A 40 percent cost-share is required by the applicant. Up to $2 million in grants will be made available to community or regional scale projects with capacities of greater than 2MW. A 50 percent cost-share is required by the applicant. Applications will be evaluated competitively using criteria set forth in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Gresham, Oregon: WRRF Certified For Thermal Renewable Energy Certificates
The City of Gresham Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) is the first facility in the State of Oregon to be certified as eligible to earn renewable energy certificates (RECs) for producing thermal energy. “Tracking RECs helps ensure electric utilities are complying with Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires that at least half the electricity from our largest utilities come from renewable resources by 2040,” explains the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) in a press release. “The Oregon Legislature added thermal energy to the list of eligible resources for RECs in 2016; facilities that produce thermal energy while they generate electricity using biomass can request certification from the Oregon Department of Energy.”
The Gresham WRRF achieved net zero energy in 2015 using a mix of technologies, including more energy efficient equipment, generating power and heat from biogas produced by the plant’s digesters (which codigest fats, oils and grease), and installing a solar array (see “Oregon WWTP’s Energy Net Zero Journey,” March/April 2015). The projects save Gresham — and therefore its ratepayers — about $500,000 annually. Alan Johnston, City of Gresham Senior Engineer, joined ODOE for a podcast to talk more about Gresham’s energy projects, including its most recent certification for thermal renewable energy certificates.
Arden Hills, Minnesota: Advancing “Barn To Biogas” In California
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and California Bioenergy, LLC (CalBio) have launched a collaboration to support the financing, installation and management of on-farm digesters to generate renewable compressed natural gas fuel in California. The “barn to biogas” partnership will help Land O’Lakes dairy member-owners in California meet new state standards for a 40 percent reduction by 2030 in dairy and livestock manure-related methane emissions from 2013 levels.
To further its commitment to supporting member-owners around environmental sustainability, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN recently launched Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN Innovation Financing, which offers eligible member-owners up to $3 million in financing for large-scale sustainability projects, including methane digesters. This financing is available specifically to help Land O’Lakes dairy member-owners implement new technologies or management systems focused on driving measurable outcomes for air, soil or water.
Mount Everest, Nepal: Biogas Digester Proposed
From 1953 to 2016, nearly 4,500 individuals from all over the world have reached the summit of Mount Everest more than 7,600 times. The launch point for climbing expeditions is Everest Base Camp (elevation 17,598 ft), which sits on the Khumbu Glacier. For up to three months each year, this camp is a busy temporary village, home to hundreds of foreign climbers and Nepalese Sherpas. After decades of continued use and exploration, Everest Base Camp and the upper camps have become scarred by human impact. For example, human waste dumped in nearby open pits has ballooned to 26,000 pounds (13 tons) annually, causing environmental degradation and posing severe risks to clean water sources. Due to the remote nature of the area, there has been no solution yet for the treatment or safe disposal of human waste.
Retired engineer Garry Porter, who has climbing experience on Mount Everest, has proposed building an anaerobic digester to handle the human waste, using the biogas for cooking fuel. Due to the extremely cold weather on Everest, Porter’s design concept is to bury the insulated digester in the ground and cover it with a hut heated by solar panels. Porter told The Washington Post that his group, the Mount Everest Biogas Project, has obtained Nepalese government approval to build the digester, along with the blessing of dozens of supportive climbers. “One of my favorite moments of the project was watching a researcher at Kathmandu University turn a knob and spark a blue flame with methane from the prototype digester we built,” he said. The Mount Everest Biogas Project is taking donations and estimates that it will cost half a million dollars to install a working digester on Everest.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Food Waste To Fuel Large-Scale RNG Project
RNG Energy Solutions LLC announced plans to develop a $120 million anaerobic digester facility at Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining and Marketing LLC (PES), an oil refining complex that processes 335,000 barrels/day of crude oil. The Point Breeze Renewable Energy (PBRE) plant, to be built on 22-acres, will process as much as 1,100 tons/day per day of grocery, restaurant and food processing waste in eight bioreactors, according to a press release. Permitting and construction could take as long as three years. Biogas from the AD reactors will be upgraded to biomethane for pipeline injection. PES, which currently contracts with Texas Eastern Transmission for natural gas supply, will “retain the renewable energy credits [RINs] generated from the sale of biogas, which will reduce its need to buy the credits on the open market,” notes an article in The Inquirer. The article reported that the facility will produce 3 million cubic feet/day of biogas.
The preliminary design for the PBRE facility is based upon up to 350,000 gallons/day or 1,400 tons/day of liquid organic waste processed at the facility. In a presentation on May 31, 2018 to the Solid Waste And Recycling Advisory Committee of the City Of Philadelphia, PBRE said that a representative characterization of the waste stream volume is 320 tons/day of fats, oils and greases (FOG) and 1,080 tons/day of source separated organics. “The waste region we are concentrating on includes eastern Pennsylvania, Northern Maryland, Southern and Central New Jersey and Delaware,” stated the developers, all roughly within a 60-mile radius of the site. Food waste will be depackaged with an Ecoverse Tiger system at multiple locations prior to being liquefied and transported in tanker trucks to the AD facility.
RNG Energy Solutions LLC, formerly AgEnergy USA, developed the $120 million, 1,760 ton/day Heartland Energy anaerobic digester project in Colorado that no longer is operating. It forecasts that the project will yield 450 direct and indirect construction-related jobs and 20 to 40 jobs once operational.
Roaring Branch, Pennsylvania: Codigesting Hog Manure, Food Waste
Remley Farms Energy LLC installed a $1.75 million, 20,000-gallon anaerobic digester that processes manure from its 9,600-head nursery hog barn and two 4,400-head finishing barns, along with food waste delivered several times a week. According to an article in the Westfield Free Press-Courier, the digester processes 8,000 to 9,000 gallons of hog manure and 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of food waste each day. “The liquid food waste is sugar-based: juice, yogurt, Monster drinks, condensed milk, even fast food flavored coffee syrup,” notes the article. Of the power produced, the Remleys use 33 kW for the farm and sell the remaining 167 kW to Penelec. The system was supplied by Martin Energy Group. The project was funded in part with grants from USDA Rural Development, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Commonwealth Finance Authority of Pennsylvania.
Los Angeles, California: RNG And Low Carbon Buildings
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) released the results in late August of a new study it commissioned by Navigant Consulting, Inc. that advises policymakers to consider renewable natural gas (RNG) for California’s low carbon building strategy as a pathway for California to achieve its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. The analysis forecasts that replacing just 16 percent of the traditional natural gas supply with RNG captured from sources like dairies, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills, can achieve GHG reductions equivalent to converting 100 percent of buildings to electric only energy by 2030. “By using a mix of both in and out of state resources, the renewable natural gas strategy is three times more cost effective in reducing GHGs than an electrification pathway,” says SoCalGas. The utility noted it is committed to developing RNG and renewable storage technologies to help California meet its climate goals.
“This year, SoCalGas is supporting Senate Bill 1440, Hueso (D-San Diego), that would result in 5 percent of natural gas delivered to residential customers being replaced with RNG,” said SoCalGas. “This is a meaningful step towards the 5 percent rate of renewable gas statewide which, could achieve GHG reductions equivalent to 30 percent electrification of the building sector.”
Tjele, Denmark: Codigestion Improved By Alkali Pretreatment
A team of Danish, Norwegian and Bangladeshi researchers have investigated the methane yield from pretreating a mix of poultry litter and briquetted wheat straw with potassium hydroxide (KOH) to see if the treatment would enhance the hydrolysis of the lignaceous carbon in the litter and straw. In two sets of laboratory-scale continuous-stirred tank reactors, the researchers added 2 percent KOH on a weight basis and evaluated methane yield at both mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures. Hydraulic retention time was set at 30 days. Experiments included 100 percent poultry litter (PL), a mix of 5 percent wheat straw and 95 percent PL slurry (12% total solids) without hydroxide treatment and the same mix of straw and PL with hydroxide treatment.
Methane yields for PL, untreated mix and treated mix were 261.7 (±7.9), 282.6 (±10.6) and 319.5 (±12.9) liters/kilogram of volatile solids (L/kgVS), respectively, under mesophilic conditions and 249.9 (±10.6), 295.5 (±11.9) and 330.7 (±13.8) L/kgVS respectively under thermophilic conditions. Volatile solids reduction was enhanced with the alkali treatment compared to the untreated reactor. The research results appear in the August 2018 issue of Renewable Energy.
Jerez, Spain: Mobile Refueling Unit
The Calvera Industrial Group delivered its first mobile gas station in Europe to Naturgy (Gas Natural Fenosa), which uses it to supply the gas-powered city buses of Jerez de la Frontera, a Spanish city that has long been committed to this technology that allows significant cost savings and lower pollutant emissions. The mobile refueling unit can transport up to 4,000 kg (8,800 lbs.) of biogas or CNG (compressed natural gas) at 250 bar (3,625 psi) pressure to directly supply vehicles, thereby expanding the possibilities of CNG biogas. Each mobile gas station can potentially fuel up to 40 buses or heavy vehicles, expanding their service range up to 400 kilometers (248 miles).