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Mainspring Energy to Deploy Biogas Fueled Linear Generator in Napa Microgrid

Mainspring Energy and PG&E just announced the deployment of a linear generator—a new mobile power generation technology utilizing renewable biogas to displace existing diesel generation—at PG&E’s Angwin distribution microgrid site in Napa County.  The linear generator will help ensure clean, reliable power during emergencies like heat waves, winter storms or earthquakes, and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events.  The linear generator is connected to both PG&E’s electric and natural gas systems and will use biogas fuel that is renewably produced at another location.

Mainspring’s breakthrough technology, based on research originally conducted by the company’s co-founders at Stanford University, is designed to meet grid demands by delivering dispatchable, fuel-flexible power that substantially reduces cost and carbon today, while accelerating the transition to the net-zero carbon grid.  One of the unique characteristics of the 240-kilowatt Mainspring linear generator is that it can ramp up and down quickly to meet power load demands at a fraction of the emissions of reciprocating engine technologies.

“Extreme weather events and the rise of electrification are driving increasing demands on the electric grid for resiliency at affordable costs. At the same time, we need to be moving rapidly toward a net-zero-carbon grid,” said Mainspring CEO Shannon Miller. “Mainspring designed our platform to meet this challenge, and we’re proud that our product is now deployed to help PG&E and its customers to address these challenges and provide them with a cleaner, resilient, and affordable source of power.”

A linear generator—distinct from an engine, microturbine, or fuel cell—is a device that directly converts motion along a straight line into electricity using chemical or thermal energy. The design of Mainspring’s linear generator uses a low-temperature reaction of air and fuel to drive magnets through copper coils to efficiently produce electricity. This innovative design, combined with the company’s proprietary adaptive control software, enables high efficiency, near-zero NOx emissions, full dispatchability, and seamless switching between fuels.

The product achieves low capital and maintenance costs through use of standard materials, only two moving parts, and an innovative air bearing system that eliminates the need for oil. It operates without the use of complex mechanical systems or expensive catalysts.

Driven by its vision of the affordable, reliable, net-zero carbon grid of the future, Mainspring is delivering a new category of power generation — the linear generator — that delivers onsite, dispatchable, fuel-flexible power at low cost. Based in Menlo Park, Calif., Mainspring is backed by top-tier venture, strategic, and financial investors. www.mainspringenergy.com.

Raven SR Announces Project to Convert Organic Waste to Renewable Hydrogen

Raven SR Inc. (Raven SR), a renewable fuels company, announced today its collaboration with Republic Services Inc. to convert organic waste to produce green hydrogen at a site in Richmond, Calif.  Raven SR will initially process up to 99.9 tons of organic waste per day at Republic Services’ West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill and produce up to 2,000 metric-tons per year of renewable hydrogen as well as power for its operations. Raven SR’s patented Steam/CO2 Reformation process enables it to be one of the only non-combustion, waste-to-hydrogen processes in the world. Additionally, Raven SR’s goal is to generate as much of its own power onsite to reduce burden on the grid.

The agreement will help move toward California’s goal of reducing emissions from organic waste under the state’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Reduction Strategy while also producing emission-free hydrogen fuel for passenger and heavy-duty vehicles.

For more information, click here.

BAC Comments on the CPUC’s Biomethane Procurement Proposal

BAC submitted comments on the CPUC’s Staff Proposal on Biomethane Procurement.  The Staff Proposal recommends requiring California’s gas utilities to procure 75 billion cubic feet of biomethane annually by 2030.  That only represents 4 percent of California’s total gas use.  By comparison, state law requires that 60 percent of California’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030.  In comments on the Staff Proposal, BAC urges the Commission to:

  • Increase the biomethane procurement target to 150 BCF to help meet the state’s climate, clean energy, waste and wildfire reduction goals.
  • Include all eligible organic waste feedstocks.
  • Base program prices on the carbon intensity of the biomethane to prioritize the lowest carbon sources that help reduce climate super pollutants (Short-Lived Climate Pollutants).
  • Offer additional incentives to maximize the carbon reductions and other benefits of the program

To read BAC’s detailed comments, see R.13-02-008 BAC Comments on Phase 4A Staff Proposal

CPUC Proposes Biomethane Procurement Program

In June, the CPUC released a draft Staff Proposal on biomethane procurement.  The proposal recommends requiring the gas utilities to procure 75 billion cubic feet of biomethane annually by 2030, primarily from organic waste that is diverted from landfills and from landfill gas.  The Staff Proposal also recommends the inclusion of two pilot projects that convert forest waste to biomethane, which will help the state to meet its wildfire and black carbon reduction goals.  Unfortunately, the Staff Proposal excludes biomethane from dairy waste and does not address agricultural waste or urban wood waste at all.

See, CPUC’s Biomethane Procurement Staff Proposal

 

CA Natural Gas Trucks Now Carbon Negative

Cummins Westport has just announced that natural gas vehicles in California have gone carbon negative!!  Natural gas vehicles are increasingly powered by renewable natural gas (RNG) generated from organic waste.  In 2020, those vehicles removed more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emitted — the direct result of the increasing use of RNG.  RNG use is up more than 170% in the past five years, according to new data from California’s Air Resources Board (CARB), while the carbon intensity of natural gas derived from renewable sources continues to drop. RNG is increasingly made using methane captured from dairy and agricultural waste, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. By capturing gases that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, RNG can provide carbon negative emissions that are critical to achieve carbon neutrality.

Ninety-two percent of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California last year was renewable natural gas and much of that RNG was carbon negative.

In addition to their negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ultra-low NOx natural gas engines perform at levels that are 95 percent below the federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard and 98 percent below the federal particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard.   These are enormous benefits for public health as they reduce smog-forming pollution and toxic air contaminants that cause respiratory illnesses, cancer and other health impacts.

According to NGVAmerica, RNG used as a motor fuel in California in 2020 displaced 1.83 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). To put those numbers into perspective, California RNG motor fuel use:

  • lowered greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent amount generated by driving the average passenger car 4.6 billion miles
  • eliminated CO2 emissions, equal to 205.7 million gallons of gasoline consumed, or the energy use of 220,118 California homes in one year
  • sequestered the amount of carbon captured by 2.24 million acres of U.S. forests in one year

To learn more about ultra-low NOx trucks and RNG visit:  Cummins Westport

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.

California Finalizes Organic Waste Diversion Regulations

In 2016, California enacted Senate Bill 1383 to reduce the most damaging climate pollutants, known as Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.  The bill requires a 40 percent reduction in methane emissions and a 50 percent reduction in anthropogenic black carbon by 2030.  As part of the methane reduction requirement, the legislation requires a 75 percent reduction in organic landfill waste by 2025.  That means diverting more than 15 million tons of organic waste currently going to landfills and converting it to energy and compost instead.

CalRecycle’s regulations to implement the organic waste diversion requirements were just finalized by the state’s Office of Administrative Law.  The key provisions related to bioenergy are contained in Article 12 (beginning on page 92), which sets out requirements for local jurisdictions to procure bioenergy and/or compost generated from the diverted organic waste.

See:  CalRecycle SB 1383 regulations (final)