Sunday, March 13, 2016

Round Up of Biomethane Projects in North America

The number North American biomethane projects in 2016, is growing! In this posting we take look at the development of biomethane upgrading plants which purify the methane output from anaerobic digestion plants, making it a high value, quality controlled, fuel, potential to provide an enormous greenhouse gas emissions reduction

A "plain vanilla flavor" biogas plant, becomes a "biomethane" plant as soon as the upgrading equipment is commissioned.

Europe has been upgrading biogas plants and building new ones, which will "upgrade" their biogas from the start, quite rapidly. In fact, a transition is beginning to take place from the on-site use of biogas energy in gas-engines for supply electricity into the local grid, to the upgrading of biogas for off-site uses, including as a transport fuel for the road haulage industry and also for general gas grid supply.

One reason for that is the reduction in favorable Feed-in-Tariffs, which have offered government subsidies in some nations, but it also raises the efficiency of the use of the methane gas energy, and in turn therefore also raises the sustainability of anaerobic digestion energy (biogas) systems.

Until recently there was less interest in this technology, in the US and Canada than in Europe. However, since the start of this year (2016), the outlook (as highlighted in the following articles). looks more promising.

Our first article below is about developments in the biomethane produced by Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which by their estimation could yield a whopping 90% reduction in carbon emissions when displacing diesel or gasoline.

Our second article is about the fact that construction has begun on a Canadian (British Columbia) biomethane project which will provide renewable natural gas to fuel the city’s waste-collection trucks. An added benefit here will be that the emissions from natural gas fueled refuse collection vehicles is much lower than that of diesel fueled vehicles. These trucks that spend all their working lives in congested streets and urban highways will now make the air healthier for residents as well.

Our third article and final article below is included to show that the market is ready to buy the low carbon emission fuel from biomethane plants, in Canada. In fact, there is strong pressure from energy utility companies to offer sustainable green energy to their customers.
That means that investors who are thinking of dipping their toes into a new "green energy market" could do well to look at biogas plant and especially biomethane upgrade investments.

Clean Energy to be First Commercial Distributor of Biomethane Fuel in California

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced it will be the first company to commercially distribute its signature biomethane fuel “Redeem” across 35 stations in California.

“It’s a landmark day for Clean Energy as the first company to make this revolutionary and renewable transportation fuel made from waste available to our customers,” 

said Andrew Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. He added the company’s goal is to produce and distribute 15 million gallons of its Redeem fuel in its first year, assist California meet its climate change goals and prove the fuel is a viable alternative fuel source.

Clean Energy hopes to keep its California retail infrastructure flowing with Redeem as the state’s fuel infrastructure grows, said Harrison Clay, president of Clean Energy’s renewable fuels division. He added Clean Energy will focus on California’s initial market, which is economically beneficial to the biofuel, before rolling out its signature biogas into other states.  

“I don’t know if we have a state that’s the next big target,” said Clay. “We’ll go where the demand for natural gas fuel is the highest. I know we opened our LNG truck stop stations in Texas, so that might be a good market for us.”

The biomethane is produced from extracting methane gas from Clean Energy’s landfills and other waste streams, cleaned and processed by a production facility and deposited into the interstate natural gas pipeline. It is available as compressed or liquefied natural gas forms.

California Air Resource Board estimated the biomethane could yield a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions when displacing diesel or gasoline. “Clean Energy’s new Redeem product will help cut greenhouse gas emissions on our roads while providing customers a lower-priced fuel when compared to gasoline or diesel,” said Mary Nichols, board chairman of California Air Resource Board.

Clay said the future of biogas usage is very promising:

“We’re offering a one-of-a-kind, lowest cost and best breed of alternative fuel. We can offer fuel to our customers that can meet 100 percent of the fuel requirements of an 18-wheeler without a sacrifice in performance that can be offered and sold to them cheaper than petroleum fuel products,” 

he said.  via Clean Energy first commercial distributor of biomethane fuel

Construction Underway on British Columbia Biomethane Project

Earlier this year, Orgaworld Surrey Ltd. began construction on a biofuels processing facility to convert kitchen and yard waste from the city of Surrey, British Columbia, into renewable natural gas to fuel the city’s waste-collection trucks.

“They have done site preparation and they are now working on the foundations and will start pouring the floors of the facility,” said Paul Oostelbos, director of international business development.

The biofuel facility is being developed as a public-private partnership (P3). Orgaworld Canada Ltd., an organic waste processing business part of Shanks Group plc, contracted with the city of Surrey to develop the project. Now, its subsidiary Orgaworld Surrey Ltd. will head up the project, undertaking the design, build, finance, maintenance and operation of the facility. Multiple partners are involved with the development of the project including Stantec Architecture Ltd. to work on the design-build and services contract and the local construction company Smith Bros. & Wilson Ltd. to prepare the site, procure the equipment and materials, construct infrastructure and building components and install the equipment desired.

This project is considered one of P3 Canada’s flagship projects. The Canadian government approved Surrey’s application to the P3 Canada Fund, awarding the project a contribution up to 25 percent, or a maximum of $16.9 million, of the capital cost of the future biofuel facility. In total, the project is expected to cost 65 million in Canadian dollars ($45.9 million).

The facility is being constructed on city-owned property located in Port Kells adjacent to the Surrey transfer station in a grass building area about 14,323 square meters. The city collects waste from approximately 100,000 households, and based on recent studies, approximately 65 percent of its residential garbage is composed of organic waste that could be diverted to the Surrey biofuels processing facility. The facility will have the capacity of processing upward of 115,000 metric tons of organic waste per year. A majority of the feedstock—80,000 metric tons per year—will come from Surrey’s residential curbside collection program, and some commercial organic waste will also be processed, supporting the Metro Vancouver Food Scraps Recycling Program.

The plant is being implemented as the second phase of the Surrey’s Rethink Waste Program. “The city of Surrey wanted to close the loop,” Oostelbos said.

“They want to convert their source-separated organics into biogas that would be used to fuel their waste collection trucks and their city fleet.”

According to Oostelbos, the city has a local objective to divert more than 70 percent of waste from the landfill through alternative reuse, increased recycling and material recovery programs.

 “By closing the approach we will convert their source-separated organics—the kitchen waste, garden waste—into mainly two products,” 

Oostelbos said.

“One is the biogas, which will be upgraded into natural gas quality. The second product is compost, which can be used as an organic fertilizer for agricultural reasons and various applications within the city.”

More than 20 waste trucks will be fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG) at peak site capacity. Upon arrival in the CNG-fueled trucks at the west entrance of the building, the waste is then stored, shredded, processed to produce gas, composted, screened and shipped out from the north exit. Shredding equipment will be located in the facility’s entry, with loaders transporting the waste within the facility, the storage bays, reactors, composting tunnels and the compost storage bays. Within the screening halls, equipment will sort the compost and move it via overhead conveyors into the composting storage areas. The facility will produce approximately 35,000 metric tons of compost per year.

The anaerobic digester (AD) technology being implemented is Orgaworld’s Biocel, dry AD equipment, already implemented by the company in the Netherlands. Oostelbos said the process requires very little pretreatment.

The gas-upgrading equipment provider for the project is still under negotiation.

“What we see in North America is that more and more cities are changing to CNG-fueled trucks, and that they also have to look at the amount of food and kitchen waste going to the landfill,” 

Oostelbos said.

“I think there is a great opportunity for these types of projects in North America.”

Besides the biofuel processing area, the facility will have an administrative area to provide visitor facilities for public education on biofuel production. The third level of the administrative area will include a conference room, visitor gallery and a roof garden for educational purposes.

The projects anticipated service commencement is in early 2017. “It’s the first and largest of its kind,” Oostelbos said.

“The combination of dry AD with composting allows us to produce quality products. We also have 2 or 3 percent of material like plastics that we will convert into alternative fuel for the local cement industry. We tried to avoid as much landfilling as possible.”

The project has also been nominated for a number of awards including the National Award for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnership in the category of project financing of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. It has also been shortlisted for the 2015 P3 Awards for the category Best Waste/Energy/Water Project, [for] which they will receive notification about Oct 8. via Construction underway on British Columbia biomethane project

British Columbia Utility Fortis Seeks Additional Biomethane for Energy

British Columbia utility FortisBC is seeking additional biomethane suppliers for its renewable natural gas program.

The subsidiary of St. John’s, Newfoundland-based Fortis Inc. said in a news release it is seeking an additional supply of up to one petajoule, or enough natural gas to provide heat and hot water for about 10,000 homes annually.

The company is seeking submissions from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, farms and agricultural businesses, and other biogas producers.

"Demand from our renewable natural gas customers has resulted in the need for further biogas supply in our system," 

said Doug Stout, vice president of energy solutions and external relations.

"Our focus is to help put waste to good use by working with suppliers to develop this energy source for our customers."

Two projects currently supply biomethane to FortisBC, with five others under development or construction. via British Columbia Utility Fortis Seeks Additional Biomethane for Energy

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