More RNG from diverted landfill waste now flowing through SoCalGas system

Source: press release, 19 March 2021

Rialto Bioenergy Facility: SoCalGas truck and methane processing system
Rialto Bioenergy Facility: SoCalGas truck and methane processing system (photo: SoCalGas/Anaergia)

Southern California Gas Co. and Anaergia, Inc. have announced that renewable natural gas (RNG) produced from diverted landfill waste is now flowing into SoCalGas’ pipeline system from the Rialto Bioenergy Facility. The facility is located in San Bernardino County, California, and owned by Rialto Bioenergy Facility, LLC, an Anaergia company. A new one-mile pipeline connects the facility to an existing SoCalGas pipeline. This is the fifth project in which carbon-negative RNG has been injected directly into SoCalGas’ system.

Using Anaergia’s advanced anaerobic digestion technology and proprietary systems, the facility will produce up to 985,000 MMBTU/year of RNG each year using up to 300,000 tons of waste diverted from local landfills. Creating this carbon-negative fuel from waste will reduce landfilling and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by up to 220,000 metric tons per year—an amount equal to removing 47,500 passenger cars from the road.

“This project marks the fifth time SoCalGas has connected to an in-state renewable natural gas producing facility, and we’re now distributing RNG from nearly 25 dairy farms and more than 18 cities’ refuse collectors,” says Jawaad Malik, SoCalGas vice president of strategy and sustainability, and chief environmental officer. “Capturing the methane that would have been emitted from this waste helps combat climate change and provides clean transportation fuel that also improves air quality.”

“We are proud to support California’s ambitious climate goals of landfill diversion, greenhouse reduction, and production of in-State carbon negative fuel,” says Yaniv Scherson, Anaergia Chief Operating Officer. “The Rialto Bioenergy Facility is the largest generator of RNG in California and the first of a number of facilities Anaergia is constructing and developing across California to service the landfill diversion and RNG procurement needs of municipalities under SB 1383.”

“This RNG project is an important step toward ensuring San Bernardino County residents have access to affordable and reliable energy, all while achieving California’s clean energy goals,” says Joe Baca Jr., San Bernardino County Supervisor (District 5). “This important RNG project utilises existing waste to deliver clean fuel for trucks, reducing air pollution along our San Bernardino County freeways while providing jobs and revenue sources for our residents.”

RNG is a clean fuel that can be used to heat homes and businesses, for cooking, and to fuel trucks and buses. Today organic waste from farms, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants account for about 80% of methane emissions in California. To combat that issue, California passed a law requiring 40% of methane from sewage treatment plants, dairies and other agriculture to be captured, with provisions for energy delivery to customers as part of the state’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas projects that in California, RNG can generate USD 14.3 billion in economic growth, and support over 130,000 clean energy sector jobs in maintenance, manufacturing, construction, operations, and engineering.

Recently the California Public Utilities Commission approved SoCalGas’ request to offer a voluntary RNG tariff. The program will allow SoCalGas customers the option to purchase RNG and use it as part of their natural gas service. SoCalGas has been working to increase the amount of renewable gas produced in California for delivery to its customers and for use in transportation.

RNG production is growing in California. The state currently has about 30 operational dairy RNG projects with an estimated total emissions reduction of more than 1.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas reduction (CO2e). Experts estimate as many as 160 RNG facilities will be in operation by 2024.