Biogas Enhancement Project

Biogas Enhancement Project

Generating electricity from fats, oils and grease

Biogas Enhancement Facility at Regional San's treatment plant

Regional San and SMUD conducted a Biogas Enhancement pilot test that evaluated the feasibility of using other waste materials, such as fats, oils and grease (FOG) and food processing waste (FPW) such as soda pop waste. Both waste materials were injected directly into an anaerobic digester to generate additional biogas. The pilot test assessed what effects the new waste materials would have on the existing anaerobic digestion process, including impacts to biogas production, amount of additional residual biosolids that will be produced and require disposal, and assessment of waste material handling and storage needs.

The test confirmed that introduction of FOG and other FPWs into the anaerobic digesters located at the EchoWater Resource Recovery Facility improved overall biogas production and would result in the additional production of electricity from this green energy source.

With the pilot test concluded, Regional San began construction of the full-scale Biogas Enhancement Facility (BEF) at the EchoWater Resource Recovery Facility in February 2012. The BEF was completed in early 2013. The additional biogas captured is used by SMUD to generate renewable energy at SMUD’s Cosumnes Power Plant located in southern Sacramento County. The facility also provides another disposal location option for commercial haulers of FOG and liquid FPW.

Project Benefits

This project has numerous operational, financial and community benefits, including:

  • Saving local businesses money by providing an advanced, local receiving station for wastes that can reduce fuel and fleet costs associated with trucking the waste to distant locations.
  • Increasing the production of biogas which will be used to generate renewable electricity for up to 1,000 homes in the region.
  • Utilizing existing waste processing and power generation infrastructure to minimize capital costs.
  • Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions associated with organic waste in landfills and its transportation to disposal sites outside the region.
  • Reducing the amount of waste entering the local sewer collection system.

Costs and Funding

SMUD and Regional San received approximately $1.45 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding from the United States Department of Energy and $100,000 in matching funds from the California Energy Commission to help construct the FOG receiving station. The remainder of the project was funded by Regional San. The construction cost of the receiving station was approximately $2.1 million.

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