The city of Escondido and Southern California Gas, the largest natural gas distributor in the nation, came one step closer recently to purifying methane gas from a water treatment facility so that it can be used by the general public. The $2.7 million dollar project is only a demonstration for now, but one that is planned to continue for a full year and that can produce enough energy to service roughly 1,200 homes in the area.
Escondido, located north of San Diego, must comply with California’s natural gas standards in order for the proposal to be used on a wide-scale for businesses and home. The initiative, however, is promising as most sewage gases around the country are burned through a flare stack and released into the atmosphere. The experimental project, funded by SoCalGas, is stated to be the first successful renewable natural gas from wastewater that can be injected into the pipeline system.
Sam Abed, mayor of Escondido, praised the move toward decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and also claimed the recovery and reuse of the methane gas would save money for the city’s ratepayers. This comes as good news to the city, which recently released a rate study [pdf] that suggests expenditures for wastewater improvements will be around $137 million over the next five years.
Currently, the test site is located at the Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility, but may move to a commercial site after the 12 month cost-effective trail period. If proven to be a sustainable way to provide energy to residents, the project would be able to power an estimated 4% of Escondido’s users.