Princeton Study Highlights Need for Bioenergy, Renewable Hydrogen

Princeton University has released a groundbreaking study on how the United States can achieve carbon neutrality.  The study finds that bioenergy – especially biomass with carbon capture and storage – and renewable hydrogen will be critical to achieve carbon neutrality.  The study’s main conclusions related to bioenergy are:

  • Biomass plays an especially important role in achieving carbon neutrality because i) it removes CO2  from the atmosphere as it grows and so combustion of hydrocarbon fuels made with biomass carbon results in no net CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, ii) it can be converted into H2  while capturing and permanently sequestering its carbon, resulting in a net negative-emissions fuel, and iii) it can similarly be used to make negative-emissions electricity.
  • Starting in the 2030s, H2  from biomass with capture of CO2  that is permanently sequestered is a highly cost-competitive technology option because of the  high value of the  associated negative emissions; negative-emissions bio electricity is less valued because of abundant low cost of solar and wind electricity.
  • Hydrogen is a key carbon-free intermediate or final fuel.

You can download the full study here.  The Bioenergy chapter begins on slide 200.

SoCalGas Announces Zero-Carbon Goal by 2045

SoCalGas has set a goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its operations and energy deliveries by 2045.  The utility’s commitment makes it the largest North American gas distribution utility to set a net-zero target that includes the company’s direct emissions and those generated by its customers. The goal is net zero emissions from SoCalGas trucks, buildings, and pipelines, as well as the fuel it delivers to customers.

SoCalGas supports California’s goal of carbon neutrality and the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, while ensuring that energy remain reliable and affordable for all Californians. No energy company is more dedicated to achieving this than SoCalGas.  SoCalGas’ commitment to net zero 2045 is a natural extension of its decades-long industry leadership.  Since the passage of California’s landmark California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), SoCalGas’ decarbonization, diversification, and digitalization efforts have supported the reduction of over 7 million metric tons of CO2e below our 1990 levels – the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from the road for a year.

Read about SoCalGas’ Climate Commitment here and its press release announcing the news here.

San Joaquin Renewables Project Converts Ag Waste to Fuels and Biochar

The Bakersfield Californian ran a front page story on San Joaquin Renewables’ project in MacFarland, Kern County, which will convert agricultural waste to low carbon vehicle fuels and biochar.  The project will provide huge benefits to the San Joaquin Valley, by providing an alternative to open burning of the agricultural waste and replacing diesel in heavy duty trucks.  The project will also provide about 50 good jobs in the County, which suffers high levels of unemployment.  And, it will provide carbon negative emissions because it will avoid black carbon emissions from open burning and diesel use, plus carbon sequestration from the biochar.

See the full article here.

LA County to Expand Food Waste Conversion to Vehicle Fuel

The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts has pioneered the conversion of food waste to biogas at wastewater treatment facilities.  The Sanitation Districts have been converting food waste to biogas for electricity generation for more than six years.  They are now going to expand their conversion capacity and convert additional food waste to low carbon vehicle fuel.  When the expansion is complete, the Sanitation Districts will generate enough biogas to power the County’s wastewater treatment facility in Carson and produce renewable vehicle fuel equivalent to 2,000 gasoline gallons per day.

Projects like this are helping California to slash the most damaging climate pollutants, replace diesel and fossil fuel gas with low carbon and renewable fuels, and help meet state requirements to reduce landfill waste.

Read more about the project:  LACSD-Converting Food Waste to Fuel

CalMatters: CA Needs Bioenergy and Green Hydrogen for Reliability

CalMatters has published an opinion piece by BAC’s Executive Director that highlights the need for bioenergy and green hydrogen to maintain a reliable and renewable power grid.  The piece underscores the importance of bioenergy and green hydrogen to complement solar, wind and batteries, to provide long duration energy storage and flexible generation power, and to provide renewable fuel for microgrids and backup generators.  The piece makes clear that California can have a 100 percent renewably powered grid, but needs both bioenergy and green hydrogen to ensure that power supplies remain reliable.

See the CalMatters piece here.

University of California Signs Major Biogas Purchase Agreement

The University of California has just entered into its fourth major contract to purchase biogas as part of UC’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality.  “UC is leading the state’s transition to carbon neutrality with these long-term investments in renewable electricity and biogas,” said David Phillips, associate vice president of UC’s department of Energy and Sustainability.   The most recent agreement is for biogas from a landfill in San Bernardino County, which would otherwise flare the biogas.  Instead, the biogas will be conditioned and used on UC campuses to provide renewable power, heating, and cooling.  When completed, the new project will provide enough biogas to replace all of the fossil fuel gas used on the UC Santa Barbara campus.

Biogas is also an important part of the UC’s climate resilience strategy as it can provide energy, heating, and cooling for microgrids and essential services during grid shut-downs or power shortages.  In fact, UC Davis was able to provide power to SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) during a recent heat wave due to the university’s gas power plant.

For more information about UC’s biogas plans, click here.

WATCH: CalBio Opens Kern County’s First Dairy RNG Project

CalBio hosted a virtual opening of its dairy digester cluster project in Kern County.  This is the first dairy waste to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) project in Kern County and will provide many benefits to the County and beyond, including production of carbon negative fuel that can replace diesel, improvements to air and water quality, job creation, and economic development.

Watch the video of this exciting event here.

To learn more, see CalBio’s press release:  CalBio Dairy Cluster Biogas to RNG Project