Here’s an overview of key biogas news. This week, companies shine through to their involvement in biogas and renewable natural gas in sectors such as renewable energy supply, use of renewable energy instead of natural gas for heat equipment, injection of biogas in pipelines and biogas plants. On another hand, more and more cities are investing in biogas plants or are improving their food waste management system.
The Benson City Council last week appeared to take another step toward selling the former Benson Power plant to a California firm that is interested in creating a biogas plant at the site. At a special meeting last Wednesday, the council voted to support a letter of intent with Brightmark Energy of San Francisco. The Swift County Monitor News says the letter spells out “general business terms” between The City of Benson and Brightmark, also called BME. There has been a good deal of discussion over the past several months between the two entities about BME building a $250 million dollar plant at the site creating biogas out of local agricultural products. The Benson Power plant, which began life as Fibrominn , will be auctioned off this month and BME is interested in the administration building, truck washing facility, scale, road infrastructure and fuel hall building without the overhead crane.
On October 1, Austin, Texas, rolled out the final phase of its Universal Recycling Ordinance, which mandates that food-permitted businesses donate or compost leftover food. The guidelines are part of Austin’s plan to reduce 90 percent of trash sent to landfill by 2040. In addition, in June, Austin expanded its Curbside Composting Collection Program to facilitate a more sustainable method of organic waste disposal, allowing more than 90,000 households to compost food scraps, yard trimmings and soiled paper. The city said it plans to extend the service to all curbside customers by 2020.Texas’s capital city is now prohibiting “all food-permitted businesses” from throwing away unconsumed products and scraps.
Expansion of New York City’s organics collection program has been put on hold because not enough people are participating in it. Five years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced a pilot program in the hopes of collecting hundreds of thousands of tons of the city’s food scraps and yard waste to be turned into compost, gas or electricity. But the program has stalled because not enough people are separating their table scraps, spoiled meat and rotten vegetables.De Blasio set a goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, and that depends on residents and businesses separating their organic waste, which currently makes up a third of the trash that ends up in landfills. However, since not enough people use the service, the city’s trucks devoted to such waste are not filled, increasing the costs per ton.
This is Rhode Island’s first dedicated anaerobic digestion plant, according to the American Biogas Council. Once fully operational, this plant can be expected to help preserve capacity at the adjacent Central Landfill — the only one in the country’s smallest state — and could finally kickstart notable progress for local organics diversion. Rhode Island does have a commercial organics diversion law, like others in the Northeast, but it has a wide exemption. Commercial operations have to be within 15 miles of a processing facility to be covered. The law first took effect in 2016 and was expanded in 2018, but its radius remained 15 miles which severely limited the scope. Currently the state’s only other option is a commercial composting operation toward it southern border and too far away from the population center around Providence.
In mid-2016, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) entered into a contract with Element Markets Renewable Energy, LLC (Element Markets) to supply renewable natural gas (RNG) to OCTA’s fleet and management of the generation, marketing and sale of the associated environmental credits. With more than $10 million of revenue generated to date through the sale of environmental credits resulting from OCTA’s use of RNG as a vehicle fuel under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, Element Markets has exceeded—well ahead of schedule—the $8.9 million revenue benchmark established for the initial three years of the contract.“OCTA has been a great partner and we are very pleased to have exceeded their expectations in delivering both economic value and emissions reduction through Biomethane CNG. We look forward to an even stronger relationship in the future as OCTA introduces Renewable Hydrogen into their fleet,” said Angela Schwarz, President and CEO of Element Markets.
Con Edison is proposing to invest in renewable natural gas and offer new incentives for customers who upgrade their heating equipment or install heat pumps to reduce natural gas usage. The company’s proposal comes at a time when the need for natural gas has grown rapidly in New York City and Westchester County. “This program will help us maintain reliable service so that our customers can keep their homes and businesses warm and comfortable, while helping to support state and local energy goals,” said Marc Huestis, Con Edison’s senior vice president, Gas Operations. “However, these measures do not eliminate the need for a new natural gas pipeline to keep up with our region’s energy needs.” Con Edison’s proposal to the New York State Department of Public Service includes measures to offset peak-day gas demand by 84,500 dekatherms, enough to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 5 million tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the program.
Organic waste will be converted to biogas at the company’s anaerobic digestion plant, and then the gas will be further refined and distributed through SoCalGas’s pipeline. Waste management company CR&R Environmental has launched the first commercial-scale California operation to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) for injection into that state’s pipeline. And there are other “firsts” associated with the $55 million project. Predominantly privately financed with some state funding, the Stanton, Calif.-based company’s project converts organic waste to biogas at its Perris, Calif., anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. The gas will be further refined and distributed through SoCalGas’ pipeline. Sourced primarily from green waste and some food waste from 15 cities, the RNG fuels 90 of the companies refuse trucks; however, future plans are to run the entire 900-truck fleet on this renewable gas.
BP p.l.c. and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. today announced an agreement which will secure an increased supply of renewable natural gas (RNG) for Clean Energy through Clean Energy’s extensive fueling infrastructure as more fleets are requesting the clean fuel. The agreement enables BP to flow larger volumes to Clean Energy stations as the supply of RNG is expected to rapidly grow over the next several years with a number of new RNG production facilities under construction and more announced. In turn, Clean Energy will share in the incremental environmental credit revenues generated from the incremental RNG volume. Renewable natural gas fuel, or biomethane, is produced entirely from organic waste. As a fuel for natural gas vehicles, including heavy-duty trucks, it is estimated to result in 70 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than from equivalent gasoline or diesel fuel vehicles, which makes it the cleanest fuel available anywhere.
Italy-based biogas developer Sebigas has announced its Brazilian division, Sebigas Do Brasil, has been awarded a contract to construct a 17.5 MW biogas plant in southern Brazil for Raízen-Geo, a joint venture of Shell and Cosan. The biogas plant will be located in Guariba, São Paulo, Brazil, near Raízen’s second largest ethanol and sugar mill. The mill processes more than 5 million tons of sugarcane annually and generates high volumes of vinasse coproduct, which the new biogas plant will take in as feedstock. According to information released by Sebigas, the biogas plant will receive approximately 9,200 cubic meters of vinasse each day, producing approximately 187,000 normal cubic meters of biogas.
Half of all renewable energy consumption in 2017 came from modern bioenergy. Modern bioenergy will have the biggest growth in renewable resources between 2018 and 2023, underscoring its critical role in building a robust renewable portfolio and ensuring a more secure and sustainable energy system, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s )latest market forecast. According to the IEA’s “Renewables 2018 Market Analysis and Forecast to 2023“, renewables will continue their expansion in the next five years, covering 40 percent of global energy consumption growth. Their use continues to increase most rapidly in the electricity sector and will account for almost a third of total world electricity generation in 2023. Because of weaker policy support and additional barriers to deployment, renewables use expands far more slowly in the transport and heat sectors.