Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The first renewable energy project in California to take byproduct gas from the wastewater treatment process and convert it to natural gas for home and business use was dedicated today in Escondido.
The Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility in Escondido will serve as a yearlong test site for the Southern California Gas Company, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy. The $2.7 million test will determine if the procedure can cost-effectively produce natural gas that meets the state's stringent standards.
Bio-methane gas is a sewage treatment byproduct usually burned off because it's too dirty for use. With the new system, it will go through a multi-stage cleaning process to make it usable for about 1,200 homes.
"This project puts the city of Escondido on the map for being the first to actually produce renewable natural gas from sewage wastewater so that it meets gas quality standards for injection into the natural gas pipeline system," said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions at the Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas and Electric. "This means San Diego residents might some day be heating their homes and cooking their food using renewable natural gas."
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed said greenhouse gas emissions at the plant will be reduced, and ratepayers will save money.
If it works, the equipment will be put into commercial use at the same site or, if necessary, another location, according to the gas company.