Every day, 100 tons of food destined for landfill will be converted into energy.

This anaerobic digester biorefinery at the Sacramento South Area Transfer Station in Sacramento County is consuming up 100 tons of food waste a day – nearly 40,000 tons per year. Organic waste collected from local restaurants, supermarkets and food-processing companies is converted through anaerobic digester technology – a biological process – into natural gas, electricity and fertilizer. The renewable gas produced is being used to power waste disposal vehicles, school buses and fleet vehicles throughout the Sacramento region.

This project exemplifies the power of public-private partnerships:

  • The California Energy Commission provided an additional $6 million in June 2012 to expand the biorefinery's capacity from 25 tons to 100 tons a day, leveraging more than $7.3 million in private investment. The award was made through the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program created by Assembly Bill 118

  • The cutting-edge technology was developed and pioneered by Dr. Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis. The Energy Commission and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery provided early-stage research funding.

  • Sacramento companies CleanWorld and Atlas Disposal are collaborating on the project.

See more information about CleanWorld Sacramento BioDigester.

CleanWorld Sacramento BioDigester CleanWorld Sacramento BioDigester CleanWorld Sacramento BioDigester array

Photos courtesy of CleanWorld



  • Twenty short-term jobs were created to construct and assemble equipment in Marysville in Yuba County.

  • Six long-term operating jobs were created.

  • Renewable natural gas to replace 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually is being produced – approximately 2,000 gallons per day, every day.

  • Offsets 18,250 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually from the waste processed.

  • Generation of 3.17 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year – enough to power nearly 400 average California homes for a year.

  • One hundred tons a day of food waste will be kept out of local landfills once the capacity expansion project is completed.

Type of Project

Anaerobic digester biorefinery


Facility started operating in late 2012. In June 2013, facility expansion began with completion expected in early 2014.


Map of CleanWorld Sacramento BioDigester in California


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