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Fuels from Sewage in Northern California

January 9, 2017 in Biofuels, Biomethane, money awarded, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

U.S. DoE Backs Project for ‘Biocrude’ and Biomethane

The Alexandria, Va.-based Water Environment & Reuse Foundation is publicizing its role in a project to produce gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and renewable natural gas from wastewater solids. A pilot plant will be hosted by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District outside San Francisco, WE&RF reports.

The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation will apply $1.2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy toward a pilot plant near San Francisco to produce liquid biocrude, biomethane gas and fertilizer from wastewater treatment plant sludge. Graphic courtesy WERF from the organization’s Genifuel Hydrothermal Processing Bench-Scale Technology Evaluation Project report co-published with Britain’s IWA.

The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation will apply $1.2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy toward a pilot plant near San Francisco to produce liquid biocrude, biomethane gas and fertilizer from wastewater treatment plant sludge. Graphic courtesy WE&RF from the organization’s Genifuel Hydrothermal Processing Bench-Scale Technology Evaluation Project report co-published with Britain’s IWA.


The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $1.2 million for the effort, one of six Project Definition for Pilot- and Demonstration-Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower initiatives being funded by the Bioenergy Technologies Office of EERE, DoE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy section.

“If fully implemented in wastewater treatment operations across the U.S., the technology will produce more than two billion gallons of gasoline equivalent per year,” WE&RF says, noting the planned facility will yield “biocrude,” which can be processed like conventional petroleum crude, and biomethane.

PNNL Among the Partners

The Hydrothermal Processing technology has been by developed by organizations including DoE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Merrick & Company, Southern California Gas, Tesoro Corp, Metro Vancouver, MicroBio Engineering, Brown and Caldwell, “and over a dozen utility partners,” WE&RF says.

The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District treatment plant, near San Francisco.

The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District treatment plant, near San Francisco.

It “converts waste solids from a wastewater treatment plant into biocrude oil and methane gas in less than one hour.

‘Replaces Fossil Oil’

“The biocrude oil replaces fossil oil,” WE&RF says, “providing green fuels with nearly zero net new carbon emissions. The methane gas can be used in the same ways as fossil natural gas.

“Biocrude oil produced in the system will be refined in an existing refinery, while the methane gas will be sold for transport in the gas pipeline system.”

The technology also yields fertilizer byproducts.


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Source: WE&RF with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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