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Pacific Gas and Electric Company Issues RFI to Research Biomethane Technologies

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to identify partners for a potential project to demonstrate technologies that could cost-effectively produce significant quantities of biomethane—pipeline-quality, renewable natural gas.

Biomethane is pipeline-quality gas derived from biomass as defined by the California Energy Commission (CEC), which includes any organic material not derived from fossil fuels, including agricultural crops, agricultural and forestry wastes and residues, and construction wood wastes, among others. Biomethanation is the process of converting biomass to biomethane.

Emerging biomethanation technologies and processes may increase conversion efficiency, expand the range of usable feedstock, and improve the quality of biomethane products. To accelerate the commercial availability of these emerging biomethanation technologies, PG&E is seeking partners to develop and operate a facility that will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of emerging technologies for developing significant quantities of biomethane.

Through the proposed biomethanation demonstration project, PG&E intends to promote viable biomethanation technologies that convert CEC-approved sources of biomass into biomethane that could be injected into PG&E’s gas transmission system and delivered for high-value uses such as dispatchable power generation.

PG&E will hold a networking forum on 5 March at its San Francisco headquarters to answer questions about the RFI and provide an opportunity for potential project partners to meet. Parties interested in attending the forum must register online by 22 February 22, 2008 at: www.pge.com/pipeline/rfi/rfirsvp.pdf.

PG&E recently received approval by the California Public Utilities Commission of its gas purchase agreements with Microgy, Inc. and with BioEnergy Solutions to deliver up to 8,000 MMBtu per day each of pipeline quality biomethane captured from cow manure.



"...agricultural crops, agricultural and forestry wastes and residues, and construction wood wastes..."

Now this is what I am talkin' about! Gasify agriculture and forest waste biomass and make methane to fill the pipelines. Run our cars, heat our homes and do it CO2 neutral. Much better than LNG tankers.


Much better than?
the logistics of western civilisation won't be answered by one resource, when we are currently seeking to expand energy consumptoion by an order of magnitude and nearly all options are either limited, dirty, untried or loopy, simple fixes at best are really a very small part of the equation.
But gas pipelies have been efffective delivery systems from the start and to see various feeds being contemplated can only strengthen this aspect.
Every little bit helps.

John Baldwin

Biomethane could replace all EU Gas Imports....



We may need a price floor in the U.S. to attract SNG production. If a dry ton of biomass costs $40 and you can get say 100 therms per ton, that does not leave you much profit margin when the wholesale price of natural gas is around 80 cents per therm and changing daily.

If the gas companies have to bring in LNG tankers, you will see prices rise at the wholesale and retail levels anyway. LNG tankers and facilities cost a LOT of money, so the gas companies will just go to the Public Utilities Commissions and say that their costs are up, so they need to charge more.

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