DRIVE: California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

Projects

G4 INSIGHTS, INC. DEMONSTRATION OF THERMO-CHEMICAL CONVERSION OF FOREST BIOMASS TO BIOMETHANE

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G4 Insights, Inc. is partnering with Placer County and others to demonstrate the conversion of Placer County forest wood waste into biomethane. At commercial scale, the renewable biofuel would use the state's natural gas pipeline grid to ship the biofuel to transportation customers throughout California. This project will determine the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of building commercial-scale conversion plants at several forest sites in the state.

G4's thermo-chemical process converts wood waste into biomethane, while generating surplus water and heat. The latter can be used to produce surplus power - a full-scale plant would be able to export over 15 megawatts of power while providing all of its heating and water needs. G4 and Placer County will demonstrate the biomethane's performance in one of the County's compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. They will also assess the feasibility of operating more than 50 CNG vehicles in the County with the plant's biomethane, including 12 CNG buses.

Grant Amount

$1,229,900 from the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

Match Funding

$1,232,257 from the project participants.

Project Benefits

G4 Insights' thermo-chemical conversion process offers a promising, cost-effective technology for converting large volumes of forest biomass into an ultra low carbon biofuel. If successful at commercial scale, the technology could provide significant economic benefits in rural forest communities, commonly areas of high unemployment. Widespread implementation could divert a large fraction of the wood waste generated from forest restoration and forest fuel reduction projects, helping to offset project costs while lowering fire risk, and producing enough biomethane to displace significant volumes of fossil fuel in the state, at a carbon intensity 85 percent below that of reformulated gasoline.

Grant Agreement Number: ARV-10-023

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