Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Session 05A: Resource Recovery: Gas and Energy
Monday, 09/Sep/2019:
9:45am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Dan Lafitte, Carollo;
Location: E143-144

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9:45am - 10:30am

Revenue from Electric Vehicles Fueling with Combined Heat and Power: New Revenue Opportunities from Electricity Generation

Drury Whitlock, Rod Schebesch


There are a handful of Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRFs) fueling vehicles with RNG and consequently receiving revenue for RIN generation using the pathways, contractual mechanisms, and financial structure of RNG RINs. Realizing RINs for fueling electric vehicles (EVs), however, has not yet been activated by EPA. The streamlining of lithium ion battery technology, increasing number of remote EV charging stations, recent expansion of EV supply, and projected growth of EVs may support a large market demand and solid value proposition for WRRFs to supply electricity to EVs. California is establishing a pathway and credit accounting protocol for EV charging, and EPA may follow suit.

To understand the costs, benefits, and tradeoffs of the various biogas utilization options as they compare to EV charging versus CNG vehicle fueling, WRRFs should evaluate energy/mass balance calculations with parasitic loads, the net energy production, the environmental benefits, equipment efficacy, and equipment complexity. The objective is to cover biogas utilization technologies, the evaluation methodology, the economics, and the risks and uncertainties of the RINs and other associated factors.

When comparing CNG versus EV fueling, utilities should also examine the environmental and social pros and cons of the various uses of biogas. Although WRRFs generally consider point and non-point pollution within the context of watershed management, the same philosophy applies to stationary combustion (e.g., CHP) versus mobile combustion (e.g., CNG vehicles). Regulatory agencies can better govern emissions from stationary sources, however complying with emission rules can be onerous and costly. Also, there is an environmental justice consideration regarding whether the stationary source combustion can more heavily burden proximal communities’ health and property value. This presentation will review a methodology for assessing EV charging versus CNG vehicle fueling and show examples of how this assessment can be conducted.

10:30am - 11:15am

City of Portland’s Renewable Natural Gas Facility: From Waste to Renewable Vehicle Fuel

Karen Bill1, Vu Han2, Darin Wilson2, Jeremy Holland1, Paul Suto2, Danny Grady3

1HDR; 2City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services; 3City of Portland, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; , ,

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ (City) Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant (CBWTP) currently has a facility under construction to treat digester gas (biogas) to high quality renewable natural gas (RNG). The project was initiated in 2014 through a Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI), a triple bottom line evaluation process, that identified conversion to RNG vehicle fuel as the most beneficial use of the flared excess biogas. Over the past few years, updates to the project were made to maximize value to the rate payers, optimize the return on investment, and align with the City’s Climate Action Plan. The RNG facility was designed to treat all biogas produced at CBWTP, approximately 1.6 million cubic feet per day.

The new RNG facility will use a proprietary water scrubbing technology (furnished by Greenlane Biogas) for the primary treatment to upgrade raw digester gas to RNG quality. In order to meet the local gas company (NW Natural) gas quality requirements, further gas polishing will be performed by a proprietary vacuum pressure swing adsorption (VPSA) system (also furnished by Greenlane Biogas). The RNG must also be compressed to a 420 psig to be injected into the NW Natural’s distribution system. The City selected Clean Energy Renewable Fuels to manage the renewable attributes of the RNG, which will be sold as RNG vehicle fuel in Oregon and/or California to take advantage of the highest renewable attribute programs. The City also constructed an on-site compressed natural gas (CNG) facility that will utilize some of the RNG produced at the plant, after injection into the NW Natural’s system, to fuel City vehicles.

This presentation will provide a summary overview of the project history, important aspects of the policies, marketing and sales of the RNG, equipment and design considerations, and early lessons learned on permits and construction (completion anticipated by the end of 2019).

11:15am - 12:00pm

Biogas Upgrading: RNG Options For Vehicle Fuel And Pipeline Injection

Adam Klaas1, Mike McKamey2

1Unison Solutions, Inc., United States of America; 2Beaver Equipment Co.;

As wastewater treatment plants become more efficient and paybacks for combined heat and power projects are becoming extended, the biogas industry has seen an increased interest in Biogas to Vehicle Fuel and Biogas to Pipeline Injection projects. Several new technologies are available for small scale and large scale pipeline projects

For small scale systems, dual stage membrane technology provides increased methane recovery at an affordable price. This technology produces a high BTU fuel that can be utilized for either vehicles or pipeline injection. Utilizing this fuel for vehicles can be done in a variety of ways. We’ll discuss direct point of use with both timed and fast fill options, dedicated pipelines, and virtual pipelines. Injection into the natural gas pipeline may also be an option and we’ll review the criteria to meet these requirements.

For larger scale systems, there is a chemical adsorption biogas upgrading process, new to the US market. It captures over 99.9% of the available biomethane in raw biogas, maximizing renewable gas yields and revenues with a very low operational cost. The pipeline quality renewable natural gas can be compressed for vehicle fuel, grid injection, virtual pipeline or liquefied for renewable LNG.

Whether it’s a small scale direct use system or injection into the existing natural gas pipeline, renewable identification numbers (RIN’s) and new renewable fuel standard regulations, make these projects more cost efficient than ever. We’ll discuss these programs as well as case studies of current facilities that have been operating for several years.

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