From Waste to Energy
In 2019, the City finished upgrading its Water Recycling Facility with the construction of an anaerobic digestion system. This system will produce 150,000 gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of renewable natural gas (RNG) made from food and beverage waste. The RNG will be used as a fuel replacement in up to 19 diesel waste hauling trucks, displacing the consumption of approximately 21,200 gallons of diesel annually associated with hauling wastes.
The new facilities are located entirely on the existing asphalt in the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility. They include an anaerobic digester and associated solid handling facilities, high strength waste facilities, Biogas conveyance pipelines, and a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station.
The project was funded in part by a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The City of Petaluma provided the remaining $12 million.
The new project will help the City be more sustainable while also supporting Petaluma's food and beverage businesses, including Clover Sonoma, Lagunitas Brewing, and Cowgirl Creamery. The businesses produce high strength wastewater which the Ellis Creek Facility previously did not have the capacity to process. As a result, these businesses had to pre-treat their wastewater discharge or pay to drive it to a bigger facility in Oakland.
With the upgrade, the City will add an environmental and business friendly waste-to-energy process that will convert the higher strength, food-related wastewater to energy.
The biofuel upgrade will benefit the City as well as the food and beverage processing companies located here.
by Leah Walker