Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
In an interview with Waste Dive, ABC’s Executive Director Patrick Serfass said the industry has shown significant growth in the past year. According to Serfass, there are approximately 64 renewable natural gas projects currently online — compared to 50 in 2015 — and about 2,200 operational biogas systems nationwide. There are also around 30 projects currently under construction that are “close” to going online. “So there is substantial growth in the industry,” Serfass concluded. Part of the reason behind the growth, he said, is that the biogas industry is seeing some enhanced stability now that the Trump administration is past its earliest days and a previous 90-day stay on RFS volumes ran out. There had initially been some concern that the Trump administration might dramatically change the RFS — a discussion that caused financiers and other potential project backers to hold off on starting new projects.
In a significant development for the clean fuels sector, Environment and Climate Change Canada released today the Regulatory Design Paper reflecting a year of intensive consultation on the national Clean Fuel Standard. The CFS will be implemented in 2022 for the liquid fuel stream, and in 2023 for gaseous and solid fuel streams, with 30 MT of annual reductions from all streams by 2030. The CFS design includes the following key elements: – Liquid fuels—of which transportation consumes 80 percent – will shoulder 23 MT of the 30 MT CFS total, with reductions to come from clean fuels such as biofuels, electric vehicles, renewable natural gas and hydrogen, – Reductions will also come from refinery improvement and upstream projects under protocols to be developed, – Cross-steam credit utilization, early period credit generation, and carry-forward of unmet credit obligations are amongst the additional compliance flexibilities for obligated parties.
Cuomo’s announcement adds to a growing number of state and city initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions, a response, in part, to federal inaction on climate change. As state leaders begin to tackle global warming on their own terms, many credit the groundwork that has already been laid in their state. Last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, D, committed his state to 100% clean energy by 2045, saying the goal was only possible “because we have done smart things up until now,” including adopting a renewable portfolio standard, ramping up wind energy and adopting green transportation policies. In Illinois, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, D, has called for his state to reach 100% renewables generation by 2050. The state generates over half its energy from nuclear power but has been ramping up its solar portfolio as it looks toward a pure renewables goal.
Businesses and manufacturers will pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste, under a major new UK government strategy unveiled by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove on December 18. The move will overhaul England’s waste system, putting a legal onus on those responsible for producing damaging waste to take greater responsibility and foot the bill. Launched at Veolia’s recycling centre in London, one of the most advanced sorting facilities in Europe, the announcement forms part of the government’s ambitious new Resources and Waste Strategy, the first comprehensive update in more than a decade. Producers will also be expected to take more responsibility for items that can be harder or costly to recycle including cars, electrical goods, and batteries.
A first of its kind renewable gas facility opened on O’ahu Wednesday. The plant is connected to the City’s Hono’uli’uli Wastewater Treatment facility and is managed by Hawaii Gas. The purpose is to turn sewage into energy and hopefully eliminate the need for nearly 15,000 barrels of oil per year. “Today is a huge milestone because we want to do more renewable natural gas,” CEO of Hawai’i Gas Alicia Moy said. “In a way, we all of us are making some of that gas and now it’s being used to save our planet and make it a lot bluer and greener and sustainable,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. The plant is the result of a partnership between the City and Hawai’i Gas.
California-based Fulcrum BioEnergy has generated plenty of buzz for its proprietary process that can turn waste into jet fuel. The process is said to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80% compared to traditional fossil fuels. Like any new technology, the commercial viability of these plans won’t be fully known until a plant is open and working over an extended period of time. The company’s Sierra BioFuels Plant, located outside of Reno, Nevada, will be closely watched to see if the technology can deliver. Said to be the first of its kind in the nation, the facility is currently projected to open in 2020. The Sierra plant will have annual capacity for approximately 175,000 tons of MSW, with an output of 10.5 million gallons of fuel.
Element Markets was recognized for excellent client service in the carbon offset marketplace for the 7th consecutive year in Environmental Finance magazine’s 19th annual Market Rankings, which was released today. Element Markets took top honors in three categories: Best Trading Company, Options in North American Markets (California), Best Trading Company, Spots & Futures in North American Markets (California), Best Trading Company, North American Markets (RGGI) Element Markets was also named as the runner-up in three categories: Best Offset Originator, North American GHG Markets (California), Best Advisory/Consultancy, North American GHG Markets (All), Best Project Developer, North American GHG Markets (All)Element Markets’ expertise spans the entire carbon market supply chain, enabling creation of comprehensive and innovative solutions for both voluntary and compliance-based offset suppliers and purchasers.
DVO Inc., a Wisconsin-based designer of anaerobic digesters, has outlined its plans for a California dairy biomethane project. The California Public Utilities Commission, California Air Resources Board, and California Department of Food and Agriculture recently announced funding for six pilot projects in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys designed to demonstrate the collection of biomethane from dairy digesters and injection into natural gas pipelines. DVO – in partnership with JG Weststeyn Dairy, a dairy farm located in Willows, Calif. – was one of the six selected entities. Under DVO’s pilot project, the manure from JG Weststeyn Dairy’s 2,200 milking cows and support stock will be anaerobically digested in a patented DVO digester. Biomethane generated by the digester will be injected into PG&E’s natural gas transmission system.
The European Union has granted support at €2.9 million to Gasum for the expansion of the gas filling station network in Finland. The support is an important step towards the creation of a Nordic gas ecosystem by Gasum. New stations are needed to respond to the increased demand for gas-fueled vehicles and to reach the emission targets outlined in the final report by the Ministry of Transport and Communications Transport Climate Policy working group for carbon-free transport by 2045. The EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for transport, energy and digital infrastructure projects has granted Gasum €2.9 million for the construction of new gas filling stations. With the support, Gasum will continue its determined efforts to implement new filling station projects and expand the Nordic station network.
A landmark new multi-country report commissioned by Biofuture Platform – a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative states that the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals cannot be met without greater use of biofuels and bioproducts, and reveals the four largest barriers currently impeding further progress. Launched during COP24 in Katowice, Poland, the report, “Creating the Biofuture: A Report on the State of the Low Carbon Bioeconomy“, affirms – in line with models and scenarios by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – that biofuels and bioproducts must play an integral role in the global energy transition, in tandem with other complementary mitigation efforts across all sectors.