Bioenergy 101

California generates 37 million tons of organic waste per year, waste that can be used to generate 2.4 billion gallons of low carbon transportation fuel or 6,000 megawatts of renewable power, more than ten percent of the state’s total transportation fuel or electricity needs. Organic waste can be used to produce the lowest carbon transportation fuel of any kind, cut toxic air pollution from diesel powered trucks, produce renewable power that’s available 24/7,  reduce wildfires and landfilling, create good jobs and instate energy supplies.

To learn more, download BAC Fact Sheet – Bioenergy 101

Bioenergy and Climate Benefits

Converting organic waste to energy is one of the most effective tools we have for reducing climate pollutants. Biogas provides the lowest carbon fuels of any kind, cuts methane emissions from dairies and other organic waste, and can reduce black carbon from wildfire.  Increasing bioenergy production is a critical strategy to reduce the most potent climate pollutants, known as “Short-Lived Climate Pollutants” (SLCPs). Bioenergy production is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And bioenergy can restore carbon by reducing wildfire and producing organic soil amendments like biochar, biosolids and digestate.

To learn more, download BAC Fact Sheet – Bioenergy and Climate Benefits

Bioenergy and the Dairy Sector

California is the largest dairy state in the United States, with approximately 1.8 million cows. California’s dairy cows produce enough waste to generate 550 megawatts of renewable electricity or more than 100 million gallons per year of carbon negative transportation fuels. Biomethane generated from dairy waste is the lowest carbon fuel of any in existence, more than 300 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel.  Dairy waste can also be used to generate flexible generation renewable power, which is critical to complement wind and solar power because it’s available 24/7 and can be stored for short periods of time to be used as needed.  In addition to cutting methane emissions and producing renewable energy, converting dairy waste to energy reduces air and water pollution from dairies, cuts odors, and can provide revenue and onsite energy supplies to dairy farms.

To learn more, download BAC Fact Sheet – Bioenergy in the Dairy Sector

Bioenergy and the Forest Sector

California forests provide a critical carbon sink that is quickly going up in smoke.  Wildfire now causes two-thirds of California’s black carbon emissions, a powerful climate pollutant and threat to public health. A single large wildfire can emit as much climate pollution as several million cars and a bad wildfire season can produce as much climate pollution as the state’s entire transportation or energy sector in a year.  Bioenergy is an important tool to reduce wildfire emissions and restore carbon to California’s forests.  Increasing forest biomass power can reduce the devastating impacts of wildfire, protect public health and safety, and provide local jobs and economic development. Forest biomass can provide flexible generation power to meet the state’s renewable electricity goals and can provide low carbon fuels, heating and other energy needs.

To learn more, download BAC Fact Sheet – Bioenergy in the Forest Sector

Bionergy and the Solid Waste Sector

California landfills millions of tons of food, yard and other organic waste each year.  Converting that waste to energy and the biogas generated from waste already in landfills could generate nearly 1 billion gallons per year of low carbon transportation fuels or almost 4,000 MW of renewable electricity – enough to power more than 1 million homes. The public health and economic benefits of converting that organic waste to energy would be huge, including:

  • Producing low carbon and carbon negative transportation fuels;
  • Cutting toxic air pollutants and smog, especially in Disadvantaged Communities;
  • Producing baseload and flexible generation renewable power needed to complement wind and solar;
  • Helping California to meet its waste diversion goals;
  • Producing jobs and revenues in every region of the state.

To learn more, download BAC Fact Sheet – Bioenergy in the Solid Waste Sector

Bioenergy and the Wastewater Sector

California has roughly 250 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) that can be major producers of renewable energy and transportation fuels.  Many of these facilities use the biogas generated from anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids to provide onsite power, using renewable gas instead of fossil fuels to power their operations. California’s WWTPs have the potential to generate significant additional power and to produce ultra-low carbon transportation fuels, lower carbon per mile than electric or fuel cell vehicles. Increasing fuel and energy production from California’s WWTPs will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, provide energy and/or revenue to public agencies, produce jobs and economic development, and increase in-state renewable and low-carbon energy supplies.

To learn more, download BAC Fact Sheet – Bioenergy in the Wastewater Sector