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The project’s first phase will convert more than 80,000 tons per year of municipal organic wastes into renewable natural gas
Southern California-based CR&R Environmental Services has entered the construction phase of its anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, Calif. The project’s first phase will convert more than 80,000 tons per year of municipal organic wastes into renewable natural gas (RNG). The project is fully permitted for three additional phases that will convert more than 320,000 tons of organic wastes into RNG and generate the energy equivalent of 4 million diesel gal, making it the largest project of its kind in the U.S. at full build-out.
“We are excited to get construction for Phase 1 in full swing,” said Mike Silva, civil engineer and project manager for CR&R. “After five years of careful planning it’s nice to see the steel finally coming out of the ground.”
CR&R’s process entails the collection of curbside “green material” and food scraps from their municipal waste collection customers in Southern California. This source-separated material will go through a proprietary sorting process to provide conditioned organic material to feed the anaerobic digester, which converts the material into biogas. The gas is upgraded to produce RNG, which can be used in CR&R’s natural gas collection vehicles.
The RNG generated from the first phase of the project will fuel about 70 collection vehicles. Subsequent phases will enable CR&R to inject RNG into the Southern California Gas pipeline. “Even though it will be challenging, we are confident that we can get our biogas cleaned to the stringent California pipeline standards,” Silva said. “We will be one of the first in the state to accomplish this.”
Other added benefits of the Perris facility include the generation of nutrient rich co-products that can be used as soil amendments and fertilizers. These materials can be processed to generate organic compost and other products that are widely used in agriculture, nurseries, and the home-gardening industry.
CR&R anticipates completion of Phase 1 in the first quarter of 2015. The timeline for the development of future phases is largely dependent on the outcome of state grants that CR&R has applied for, said Paul Relis, senior vice president at CR&R. “These types of projects are very capital intensive,” Relis said. “Grant funds allow the state to seed projects that will ensure the success of California’s ambitious organic waste diversion goals.” CR&R has received grants from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) which enabled them to move forward with the project’s first phase.
The core of the technology for the Perris facility comes from German company Eisenmann, which has installed over 90 biogas plants worldwide. Their High Solids Anaerobic Digestion system employs a continuously fed, horizontal plug flow design which allows for maximum biogas production, a high degree of consistency and full automation. The gas clean-up system is supplied by Greenlane Biogas, based in New Zealand. This system will use water scrubbing and other advanced technologies to clean raw biogas to required specifications for vehicle fuel or pipeline injection. “The combination of these two world-class technologies will enable a high volume and quality of gas to be delivered,” Silva said.
Other construction team members include J.R. Miller & Associates for architecture and engineering services, and W.M. Lyles for construction management services. Both Miller and Lyles have extensive relevant experience in biogas projects, although the Perris project will be the first of its kind in the U.S.