G4 Insights, Inc. Grant For the Low Temperature Thermo-Chemical Conversion of Forest Biomass to Biomethane Technology Testing in Placer County, California
Placer County is partnering with G4 Insights, Inc. and others to turn wood waste from the forests of Placer County into biomethane. The renewable gas would be injected into the state’s natural gas pipeline system and shipped to wherever it’s needed for transportation and other uses. The project will determine the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of building commercial-scale conversion plants at several rural forest sites in the state.
The conversion process being tested requires no process water and uses wood waste, either green or dry, as its sole feedstock. Water is generated in the process and is recycled and reused. A full-scale plant would run on one megawatt of electricity, but the excess energy produced from the wood would allow the facility to export over 15 megawatts and the excess heat produced would warm the plant and its offices.
To begin with, G4 and Placer County will test the performance of the biomethane created in one of the County’s compressed natural gas-powered vehicles. They will then assess the feasibility of operating more than 50 vehicles in the County with the gas, including 12 CNG buses, and Clean Energy Fuels of Seal Beach is considering selling the renewable fuel to its CNG customers in Southern California, using the state’s natural gas pipeline network.
The team will provide match funding of $1,232,257.
G4 Insights, Inc., an international company headquartered in Canada, developer of a promising low-temperature, thermo-chemical process to effectively convert woody biomass into biomethane.
TSS Consultants, renewable energy consultants with offices in Rancho Cordova, California.
WorleyParsons, an international design company with offices in Folsom, California.
The County of Placer
G4 Insights claims its thermo-chemical conversion process offers a promising, cost-effective alternative to cellulosic technology. It could be the basis for new biomass-based industries in rural forest communities, commonly areas of high unemployment. If successful, the project by 2020 could create 541 full time jobs running four conversion plants, with a total direct and indirect economic benefit to the state of $707 million and tax revenues of $24 million, without considering construction jobs.
The plan has the potential to divert a large fraction of the growing backlog of wood waste generated from forest restoration and forest fire fuel reduction projects. Based on current estimates of California's woody biomass supply, the team estimates that their technology could produce enough biomethane to displace 8 percent of gasoline and diesel use in the state even as it reduces the state’s danger of wildfire.
G4 Insights’ process is expected to create natural gas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent when compared to reformulated gasoline.
Grant Agreement Number: ARV-10-023