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.

SoCalGas and CR&R Break Ground on Renewable Gas Pipeline

BAC members CR&R and SoCalGas have broken ground on a new pipeline to bring carbon-neutral renewable gas into the SoCalGas distribution system for the first time.  CR&R will produce the renewable biogas from food and yard waste that would otherwise  have gone to a landfill.  Instead, the organic waste will be converted to biogas to generate renewable power, cooking, heating and transportation fuels.  Increasing renewable gas use will cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while providing good jobs and economic development in Southern California.

View the announcement from SoCalGas and CR&R:  CR&R and So Cal Gas to Put Renewable Gas in Pipeline

More than 66 Million Dead Trees in Southern Sierras

The California Department of Forests and Fire (CalFire) now estimates that there are more than 66 million dead trees in the Southern Sierras alone, with many additional dead trees throughout California.  According to CalFire, the number of dead trees has increased from 3.3 million in 2014 to 29 million in 2015 and now more than 66 million in just six counties.  The huge increase in tree mortality is due to a combination of drought, climate change and bark beetles.  The Governor’s Emergency Proclamation on Tree Mortality calls for removal of dead and dying trees in High Hazard Zones and conversion to bioenergy and other beneficial uses.   To learn more, see CalFire’s news release.

GE, Phoenix Energy and Western Energy Announce Biomass Gasification Solution

GE’s Distributed Power business (NYSE: GE), Western Energy Systems and San Francisco-based Phoenix Energy today announced they have signed an agreement for GE to provide equipment for an integrated biomass gasification solution to power a bioenergy plant in North Fork, the next in a series of bioenergy plants that Phoenix Energy is building in the state. GE’s integrated biomass gasification solution includes an Ecomagination qualified, 1-megawatt engine and biomass gasification system. Phoenix Energy and GE have collaborated to design and implement this solution statewide. For the North Fork project, Phoenix Energy will use the GE gasification solution to convert excess forest biomass to electricity, heat and biochar, supporting the state and federal efforts to reduce wildfire risk, eliminate wasteful pile and burn management practices and improve carbon sequestration.

Read the full press release at:  GEs Integrated Biomass Gasification Solution to Power Phoenix Energys North Fork Project – 09 09 15 – FINAL

Phoenix Energy and GE Announce Agreement

GE’s Distributed Power business (NYSE: GE), Western Energy Systems and Phoenix Energy today announced they have signed an agreement for GE to supply an undetermined number of ecomagination qualified Jenbacher gas engines to power a series of bioenergy plants that Phoenix Energy plans to build around the Golden State.   See GE’s press release.

CR&R Anaerobic Digestion Facility Underway in Perris, California


Stanton, CA

Perris Renewable Natural Gas Facility Coming out of the Ground 

Southern California based CR&R Environmental Services has entered the construction phase of its anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, California. The project’s first phase will convert over 80,000 tons per year of municipal organic wastes into Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). The project is fully permitted for 3 additional phases that will convert over 320,000 tons of organic wastes into RNG and generate the energy equivalent of 4 million diesel gallons, making it the largest project of its kind in the U.S. at full build-out.

Mark Silva, Civil Engineer and Project Manager for CR&R

“We are excited to get construction for phase 1 in full swing,” says Mike Silva, Civil Engineer and Project Manager for CR&R. “After five years of careful planning it’s nice to see the steel finally coming out of the ground.” CR&R’s process entails the collection of curbside “green material” and food scraps from their municipal waste collection customers in Southern California. This source separated material will go through a proprietary sorting process to provide conditioned organic material to feed the anaerobic digester which converts the material into biogas. The gas is upgraded to produce RNG which can be used in CR&R’s natural gas collection vehicles. The RNG generated from the first phase of the project will fuel about 70 collection vehicles. Subsequent phases will enable CR&R to inject RNG into the Southern California Gas pipeline. “Even though it will be challenging, we are confident that we can get our biogas cleaned to the stringent California pipeline standards,” says Silva. “We will be one of the first in the state to accomplish this.”

Other added benefits of the Perris facility include the generation of nutrient rich co-products that can be used as soil amendments and fertilizers. These materials can be processed to generate organic compost and other products that are widely used in agriculture, nurseries, and the home-gardening industry.
CR&R anticipates completion of Phase 1 in the first quarter of 2015. The timeline for the development of future phases is largely dependent on the outcome of state grants that CR&R has applied for says Paul Relis, Senior Vice President at CR&R. “These types of projects are very capital intensive,” says Relis. “Grant funds allow the state to seed projects that will ensure the success of California’s ambitious organic waste diversion goals.” CR&R has received grants from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) which enabled them to move forward with the project’s first phase.

The core of the technology

for the Perris facility comes from German company Eisenmann, which has installed over 90 biogas plants worldwide. Their High Solids Anaerobic Digestion system employs a continuously fed, horizontal plug flow design which allows for maximum biogas production, a high degree of consistency and full automation. The gas clean-up system is supplied by Greenlane Biogas, based in New Zealand. This system will use water scrubbing and other advanced technologies to clean raw biogas to required specifications for vehicle fuel or pipeline injection.

“The combination of these two world-class technologies will enable a high volume and quality of gas to be delivered,” says Silva.

Other key construction team members include J.R. Miller & Associates for architecture and engineering services, and W.M. Lyles for construction m
anagement services. Both Miller and Lyles have extensive relevant experience in biogas projects, although the Perris project will be the first of its kind in the U.S.

For additional information and full resolution project images, please contact Michael Silva at

About CR&R Incorporated

CR&R Environmental Services is one of Southern California’s most innovative and successful recycling and waste collection companies, serving more than 2.5 million people and 50,000 businesses throughout Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties. Thanks to groundbreaking technologies and pioneering reclamation programs, CR&R is able to recycle over 500,000 tons of materials each year, creating cleaner communities, reducing air and water pollution, conserving landfill space, and extending our natural resources. To learn about CR&R, please visit their website at

About Eisenmann Corporation

Eisenmann is a leading international supplier for environmental, renewable energy and manufacturing systems. Providing industrial engineered anaerobic digestion solutions for a wide range of feedstocks and biogas projects, Eisenmann delivers proven technologies based on over 37 years of experience in designing, building, commissioning and servicing systems in North America. Eisenmann’s U.S. headquarters is in Crystal Lake, IL


Mike Silva, CR&R Environmental Services, (714) 883-3777,

Phoenix Energy to Build 2 MW Forest Biomass Gasification Plant


San Francisco, CA

Phoenix Energy Signs Agreement to Build California’s First Forest Biomass Gasification Plant near Lake Tahoe 

Phoenix Energy announced it has signed agreements to build and operate a biomass gasification plant near Lake Tahoe, California. The 2-megawatt plant will utilize forest biomass from Placer County’s fire threat reduction activities to make electricity, heat and biochar – a solid carbon byproduct that is used as a soil conditioner and filter media.

The plant will be the first to use forest-based fuel in California. The Lake Tahoe project is Phoenix Energy’s third biomass gasification plant in state and when fully operational it will be the company’s largest plant.

“I believe there is a great opportunity for small community scale biomass plants to produce clean renewable energy for California and our third plant shows the technology is gaining momentum,” said Phoenix Energy CEO Gregory Stangl.

In an effort to reduce forest fire risk and improve air quality, Placer County has been seeking to develop an alternative to open burning of large biomass piles. The recent massive Rim Fire in California’s high sierras gave renewed emphasis to finding a better solution to managing that risk. “The piling and burning forest biomass in the open is a complete waste of a resource and bad for air quality – but it is often the only economic option for local communities. This plant will serve as a path towards a more sustainable outcome while providing local jobs and local energy,” said Stangl.

Brett Storey, Placer County’s biomass coordinator said, “after years of effort we are delighted to have an environmentally superior way of managing forest health and fire risk than what has been the norm. To reduce fire risk in an economical way while creating jobs and bringing investment in the County is a great bonus.”

Phoenix Energy is an independent power producer that operates a network of small, distributed biomass gasification plants in partnership with businesses and communities. By focusing on small plants in the 1-3 MW range the Company strives to keep electricity, heat and fuel local to the plant where the value of energy is highest and transportation costs avoided. The gasification technology also produces biochar, which serves to permanently sequester carbon in solid form and is valued as a soil conditioner and filter media.


Gregory Stangl, Pheonix Energy, (415) 286-7822,

Governor Brown Re-Authorizes Clean Fuels Program


Sacramento, CA

BAC Applauds Re-Authorization of California’s Clean Fuels Program 

The Bioenergy Association of California (BAC) applauds Governor Brown for signing legislation (AB 8, Perea) over the weekend that reauthorizes California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel Program. The Program provides
critical funding for facilities to develop clean, renewable transportation fuels while creating jobs and economic development.

The Alternative and Renewable Fuel Program was first created in 2007 by Assembly Bill 118 (Nunez) and continues to be known as the AB 118 Program. For many BAC members, it has provided funding to convert organic waste into much cleaner burning transportation fuels, creating jobs and new businesses in the process.

“As a direct result of AB 118 funding, CleanWorld has built two BioDigesters in the Sacramento Area and is developing a third at UC Davis, creating 94 construction jobs and 12 operational jobs,” said Shawn Garvey, Vice President of Clean World, a bioenergy development company based in Gold River.

Transportation fuels from organic waste are the cleanest fuels available and critical to reduce air pollution in California. According to the California Air Resources Board, fuels from organic waste and wastewater treatment gas are carbon negative because they destroy methane (a highly potent greenhouse gas) and reduce the use of diesel and other fossil fuels.

“We are very grateful for the California Energy Commission’s support, which has enabled Harvest Power to produce carbon negative transportation fuels from organic waste,” said Wayne Bishop of Harvest Power.

Harvest Power has received AB 118 funding for a project in Tulare County that will convert 40,000 tons of food and green waste into 650,000 gallons per year of renewable natural gas. “The AB 118 grant will help us to stimulate economic growth in Tulare County and will reduce air pollution by providing a much cleaner alternative to diesel.”

In Riverside County, AB 118 funding will enable CR&R to provide renewable natural gas for its waste and recycling fleet (about 700 vehicles) and to reduce landfilling of organic waste.

“Our AB 118 funding has been critical to the development of our 82,000 ton per year anaerobic digestion facility under development in Perris, Riverside County,” said Paul Relis of CR&R. “Although CR&R is providing the majority of the funding for this project, the AB 118 grant funds make the project economically feasible.”

BAC and its members thank the Governor and Legislature for reauthorizing AB 118, a critical program to reduce California’s dependence on fossil fuels and develop clean, renewable fuels that protect air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create good, local jobs.

The Bioenergy Association of California is an association of companies, public agencies, local governments and environmental groups working to promote sustainable bioenergy development in California. Bioenergy includes electricity, transportation fuels, combined heat and power, and biogas made from dairy, food, agricultural, forest, wastewater treatment and other forms of organic waste.


Julia Levin, Bioenergy Association of California, (510) 610-1733,

BAC Op-Ed on Role of Forest Bioenergy to Reduce Wildfires


^ Click for the full Article ^

In September, 2013 The San Francisco Chronicle published an Op-Ed by BAC Executive Director Julia Levin on the role bioenergy can play in reducing catastrophic wildfires.

The Rim Fire is a sad reminder that wildfires are a growing threat to public health, safety and the water and power supplies for large parts of California. California can significantly reduce those risks by investing in small, sustainable forest biomass facilities that would use green waste to create renewable energy.

California has passed legislation (Senate Bill 1122, authored by former state Sen. Michael Rubio from Kern County) to accelerate bioenergy development from forestry and other organic waste sources, and it is now up to the Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules that will get facilities built in time to prevent more Rim Fires. These facilities use the forest biomass (brush, branches, small trees, bark collected to reduce fire risks) as the fuel to generate electricity in small power plants.

California Association of Sanitation Agencies Joins BAC

^ Click for the full Article ^

The California Association of Sanitation Agencies, CASA, is one of the founding members of a new association organized to promote bioenergy generation in California. The Bioenergy Association of California (BAC), was officially launched today at an event in Sacramento. The organization was formed by companies and public agencies with an interest in promoting sustainable bioenergy development in California. Julia Levin, former Deputy Secretary for Climate Change and Energy at the California Resources Agency, is serving as the organization’s executive director.

CASA is the leading voice for public wastewater agencies regarding regulatory, legislative and legal issues.