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Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will demonstrate a process to increase production of biogas through anaerobic digestion while reducing the amount of CO2 produced. SMUD will use CleanWorld’s Sacramento facility for the demonstration site.

The patent-pending process developed at the Argonne Lab adds magnesium silicate minerals to anaerobic digesters to convert CO2 emitted during the digestion process into calcium carbonate. The minerals react chemically with the waste sludge and the CO2 is chemically bonded to the rocks, essentially sequestering the CO2 and producing a negative Carbon Intensity value. The process improves the rate and volume of biogas production and increases the biomethane content of the biogas, which boosts its energy content. At the same time the process reduces impurities in the gas produced and creates carbonate byproducts, like material for roadways.

The project will produce six months’ worth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) to be used as transportation fuel in medium- or heavy-duty trucks. The project is expected to produce approximately 5,000 standard cubic feet of compressed biomethane per ton of wet waste material.

Grant Amount

The Energy Commission is providing $1,830,132 in Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program funds.

Match Funding

$1,870,824 from the project’s participants.

Project Benefits

California has 240 wastewater treatment plants producing large volumes of sludge each year. Some have anaerobic digesters that produce biogas for power generation – a process that is being curtailed because of air quality concerns. This project could produce a new revenue stream and create transportation fuel out of a waste product. Other economic benefits include producing potential income from sales of digested manure and sewage. Revenue may also come from producing and selling green energy and carbon credits. The process will cut costs by reducing water consumption.

Grant Agreement Number: ARV-10-003

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