California Energy Commission to award up to $2.45M for renewable natural gas for transportation fuels
The California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) has released a Program Opportunity Notice (PON-12-506) for the award of up to $2.45 million to accelerate research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of advanced technologies to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) transportation fuels.
Examples of acceptable feedstocks include but are not limited to: waste-based biomass (both pre- and post-landfilled); agricultural residues; purpose-grown fuel crops; woody biomass and forest residues; animal manures; food waste; municipal solid waste (MSW); and sewage. Pathways by which renewable natural gas is to be derived for proposed projects can include fermentation; thermochemical processes, or any other means of producing RNG.
Examples given in the PON include:
Biomass fermentation is a known and used technology for generation of methane, and its by/co-products are fairly well established. A process representing significant advancement of fermentation technology would need to demonstrate innovative methods enhancing efficiency or producing new, different, and valuable co-products and co-benefits.
Several thermochemical approaches to RNG generation currently exist, including but not limited to gasification, hydrogasification, steam hydrogasification, and plasma gasification. A novel process representing significant advances over the current state of technology would need to demonstrate potential for increased efficiency and/or increased economic viability through the combined generation of RNG and co-products/- benefits.
The funding is targeted at projects that incorporate bench-scale research and development and/or prototype-scale demonstration of advanced technologies that demonstrate the potential to supply renewable natural gas transportation fuels in and for California, while providing value added through co-benefits and co-products associated with their processes.
Examples of co-benefits and co-products include but are not limited to reduction in waste disposal (e.g., landfilling and associated tipping fees), enhanced water treatment and usable water production, production of fertilizers and soil amendments, and production of animal feeds.
The solicitation also targets technologies for transportation fuels, rather than pipeline natural gas. Renewable natural gas produced would most appropriately be suited for on-site use, private pipeline transportation, or virtual pipeline (tube trailer) transportation to transportation end use applications.
The Energy Commission anticipates selecting up to five projects to fund with grants, for up to four years each. No single applicant may request more than $820,000 in funding. Bench-scale projects are eligible for funding up to $400,000; working demonstration unit and prototype development projects are eligible for funding up to $820,000.