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Portland looks to turn more solids into biogas at Columbia plant

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  • Portland looks to turn more solids into biogas at Columbia plant

    More of Portland’s wastewater soon may be converted to compressed natural-gas vehicle fuel, which would reduce the use of diesel fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Read More

  • #2
    Environmental Services has received approval from Portland City Council for its $12M biogas project at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment plant in Portland Oregon. With plans to sell the RNG from a fueling station for use in its own trucks and city trucks, what is left out of the remarks is that the Portland metro area still does not have a single public CNG station. At least there are no tolls on the bridges to adjacent Vancouver Washington where public CNG has been available next to a Frito-Lay plant since the spring of 2016.


    • #3
      April 19, 2017 - The bureau says it can produce enough natural gas in a year to power the equivalent of 154 garbage trucks.


      • #4
        At July 13 2017 Clean Cities meeting, the details were summarized for the Portland Wastewater Treatment CNG station. The gas utility, NW Natural, will be providing the station which will have HDR provide the gas processing apparatus and TechStar CNG Systems, LLC of Oregon City provide the Bauer compressor, tanks and dispensers.

        Transcript of Chris Galati, of NW Natural, remarks from the meeting:

        As the electric industry has been greening up its energy mix with solar and wind, the gas utilities feel compelled to do the same with molecules. Renewable natural gas gives us an opportunity to do that.

        Our first project we will be interconnecting next year will be the Portland OR Wastewater Treatment Plant where they will produce, initially, 1M therms/year and, quite possibly, 8M therms per year. Which would come to about 0.1 percent of our overall supply.

        The stated purpose of the CNG station in the Apr 19 2017 press release was:

        The City of Portland will be on Schedule H, a tariff approved by the Public Utility Commission of Oregon which allows the utility to install and maintain compression facilities for customers who need on-site fueling. The fueling station is projected to be online as early as the end of 2017 and be used for Environmental Services and other city trucks.

        The new project is expected to significantly reduce the city s carbon footprint, said Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson. From an environmental point of view, it s not just about our local air quality, Anderson said. It s about reducing carbon emissions. We need to walk our talk.

        Biogas is currently being captured for heat and electric power at the plant and a neighboring process plant. In 2009, Environmental Services installed two 850 kilowatt GE/Jenbacher engine-generators with a total generating capacity of 1.7 megawatts. A pretreatment system removes hydrogen sulfide, siloxane and moisture to prepare the biogas to be used as fuel.

        The plant recovers heat from water and engine exhaust to use in its anaerobic digesters. The engine-generators supply about 40 percent of the plant's electrical needs.

        The plant is now designing a facility to convert some of that biogas into compressed natural gas vehicle fuel. Environmental Services found that the vehicle fuel option is the most economical and environmentally sound re-use option of several studied. It will reduce diesel fuel use and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

        Environmental Services is exploring several possible uses for the fuel including selling it to a utility company, selling to Portland area garbage haulers to fuel trucks, fueling city vehicles, or fueling trucks that haul biosolids for land application. The project will cost nearly $11 million. Environmental Services is exploring grants and financial incentives to help reduce project costs. Construction could start early next year and the facility could be operational by 2017.

        The city plans to sell the product for credits they will be awarded based on the volume of natural gas they sell to oil companies and other obligated parties required to invest in renewable energy or purchase carbon offsets under The Clean Air Act, said Paul Suto, supervising engineer at Portland s environmental services bureau.

        Portland is negotiating a contract with Midwest energy assessment company Clean Energy Renewables to help make its plan work. The firm will find potential buyers, value the volume of natural gas and ultimately help monetize the city s energy credits, Suto said.



        • #5
          In July 1998, Portland OR installed a 200-kilowatt fuel cell in its wastewater treatment plant that uses methane produced by the plant to generate power to run the plant. The methane had been used to heat boilers in the wastewater plant, and some was sold to a neighboring asphalt roofing company. But the plant still produced more methane than the City could use.

          Fuel cell power plants (FCPP) offered a viable solution. Fuel cells use an electric generation technology that converts methane into electricity, water, CO2 and usable heat. They also can be powered by other fuel sources such as hydrogen. With local policies to support sustainable practices and utilization of anaerobic digester gas (ADG), Portland has begun to power a fuel cell with methane from its wastewater treatment plant to generate electricity and heat to the facility.

          The project had to meet environmental and renewable energy requirements. Unlike combustion generators that produce oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulphur (SOx) and particulates, the FCPP process produces only water, heat and CO2 emissions. Also, by using a renewable biogas, the electricity is defined as renewable generation, or "green power," by U.S. definition.



          • #6
            Bauer compressor being set this week at Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant 5001 N Columbia Blvd, Portland, Oregon. Compressor and dispensers are 100 feet from the Columbia Slough Trail bike trail bridge approach, directly at the end of the N Fiske Ave entry road to the facility. (all of this easily seen on maps dot google dot com Satellite view-imagery is, in fact, from aerial photos, not satellites.)

            As with the private CNG stations at Pride Disposal (Sherwood OR), Helberg Disposal (Portland OR), and Gresham Disposal (Gresham OR), the agency has not informed afdc dot energy dot gov of the Columbia planned CNG station. So CNG growth in Oregon is not being documented.

            Plans are to have the station dispensing CNG to several Altech-Eco bi-fuel Ford van conversions by year end. Pipeline gas, not wastewater treatment gas, will be used. Station is not located next to a nearby perimeter road to allow a public dispenser outside the fence as is done at countless facilities nationwide.

            CNG_Altecheco_f.jpg CNG_Thomas2.JPG CNG_AustinCityTX_1.JPG


            • #7
              Completiion was slated for end of 2017. C26 X-Fill Series can now be seen on site with on-board storage of 98 or 196 usable gge s. Accommodates line pressures of 10-215 psig. No gas pre-treatment equipment has been installed to handle the methane produced by the waste water plant (Bauer has been hooked into gas utility supply line.)

              Photos show Bauer installed at Columbia wastewater treatment plant; public access prohibited (Bauer to left of yellow backhoe); Bauer on trailer; and waste gas pre-treatment apparatus from Refuel in Sacramento, CA.

              CNG_Columbia_b.jpg CNG_Columbia_d.jpg CNG_Bauer_large.jpg RNG_refuel_m.jpg


              • #8
                Columbia Wastewater station began dispensing CNG the week of Feb 19 2018 - ten months after a press release mentioned the project in an Apr 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) link. Oregon s newest CNG (private) station is among a dozen of the 29 CNG stations in Oregon that have never informed for inclusion in the nationwide database - somewhat odd given that it is getting a lot of recognition from the area Clean Cities Coalition.