Watch for Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE) to step up the promotion of product from CERF, its Clean Energy Renewable Fuels unit, when its project with Republic Services at the Sauk Trail Hills landfill in Canton, Mich. starts producing pipeline-quality natural gas, aka biomethane, later this month.
CERF is already marketing various blends of biomethane as RNG10 (10%) and RNG20, all the way up to RNG100, which is 100% renewable. The price premium is about 10¢ per diesel gallon equivalent for each 10% of biomethane, reckons Clean Energy business development manager Shaunt Hartounian.
The molecules from Michigan will offset pipeline gas fueling Republic Services trucks in California – a process known as “wheeling.”
The Clean Energy-Republic Services project was supported by Cornerstone Environmental, which provided site design and permitting services to Canton Renewables, a CERF subsidiary.
Also participating is the Detroit-based Walbridge construction firm, which states anticipated capacity at 6 million DGEs – diesel equivalents – per year.
In California, Waste Management continues to produce enough liquefied natural gas to support some 300 natural gas garbage trucks at the Altamont Landfill in Livermore, east of San Francisco. The 13,000-gallon-per-day facility was dedicated in November 2009.
Today’s low price of conventional natural gas has made biomethane less cost-competitive (F&F, October 17, 2011). But better methods of processing – such as pre-sorting organics or compostables making for a cheaper-to-process feed – can considerably improve the economics of biomethane.
Sorting Garbage Can Make Green Fuel Cheaper
That’s especially true for operators with limited landfill access, says Ken Beaver, director of innovation for the Environmental Solutions Group, with affiliates including Heil (CNG-integrated refuse truck bodies) and Marathon, which is supplying hardware to Zero Waste Energy for anaerobic digestion using organic waste. If the cost of trucking waste hundreds of miles can be eliminated, he says, biomethane makes more sense.
Heil, meanwhile, has installed its own CNG fueling station (by Florida’s Vocational Energy) at its plant in Fort Payne, Ala. “We’re looking at the whole waste cycle, from point of creation to its ultimate destination,” Beaver says.
Other outfits emphasizing compost as a better feed than landfill gas (which tends to be more contaminated) include the town of Surrey, outside Vancouver, which has mandated the separation of household trash. Surrey contractor BFI Canada will use biomethane from the compostables to help fuel a fleet of Mack collection trucks expected to reach 160 units (F&F, January 21).
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Source: CTN Publishing’s ShowTimes Daily in cooperation with Fleets & Fuels