Published June 14, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Sacramento’s school buses will likely soon run on one-hundred-percent renewable natural gas.
The California Energy Commission awarded yesterday Sacramento-based Atlas Disposal Industries a $300,000 grant to support the construction of the nation’s first anaerobic digestion-based renewable natural gas fueling station.
Atlas Disposal's Renewable Natural Gas Fueling Facility is under construction at the South Area Transfer Station in south Sacramento. The facility will use natural gas produced by converting food and organic waste collected by Atlas Disposal from area food-processing companies, restaurants and supermarkets into renewable natural gas.
One hundred percent of the electricity needed to run the fueling station will be generated by the Organic Waste Recycling Center operated adjacent to the facility.
Clean World Partners is constructing the Organic Waste Recycling Center, a waste-recycling operation that uses anaerobic digestion technology developed at UC Davis to break down food and organic waste material into renewable biogas, electricity, compost and soil amendments.
Clean World Partners also received a $6 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to increase the capacity of its Organic Waste Recycling Center at the South Area Transfer Station, making it the largest commercial-scale, high solids anaerobic digestion (AD) system in the United States. The groundbreaking event for this facility was held June 7.
“Our development of this facility makes clear the viability of this technology,” said Michele Wong, CEO of Clean World Partners. “Our systems are adaptable to a wide range of situations and we can get them up and running quickly. We’re especially excited with this center about the use of renewable natural gas as vehicle fuel.”
"We are pleased that the California Energy Commission sees the importance of moving forward on this ground-breaking facility and is demonstrating its support by helping us fund this project. Powering our fleet and others with renewable natural gas will play an important role in improving the Sacramento region’s air quality,” said Dave Sikich, CEO of Atlas Disposal.
The initial 25-ton per day waste-recycling operation will produce 164,000 diesel gallon equivalents annually, enough to fuel approximately 80 school buses for one year. When complete in 2013, the operation will divert 36,500 tons of waste from the region’s landfills, replacing 1 million gallons of diesel per year with renewable natural gas – enough to power 320 school buses – and producing 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually – enough to power 200 Sacramento homes.
Atlas Disposal will develop an educational and interpretive facility on-site to showcase the Sacramento region’s cutting edge commitment to reducing waste while producing renewable energy and creating local jobs.
An estimated 16 jobs will be created and more than $1 million in annual tax revenues will be generated to support the Renewable Natural Gas Fueling Facility and the Organic Waste Recycling Center.