Federally Funded Project Uses Microbes to Convert CO2 to RNG
by Betsy Lillian (NGT News) Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has announced new grant funding for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LNNL) and Stanford School of Engineering’s Spormann Laboratory to conduct new power-to-gas research.
The two entities will also receive $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy. SoCalGas will provide co-funding of $400,000 in addition to $125,000 of seed funding it provided in 2017.
The initiative will research the use of microbes to convert carbon dioxide directly to methane using renewable electricity – a process known as microbial electromethanogenesis (ME). If developed as envisioned, ME could become a highly efficient, large-scale storage technology for excess wind and solar energy. This would, in turn, make both renewable electricity and renewable natural gas (RNG) less expensive and more plentiful, explains SoCalGas.
Between 3,300 GWh and 7,800 GWh of excess solar and wind energy will be curtailed in California by 2025 due to time-of-day supply/demand mismatches, according to a recent Lawrence Berkeley National Lab study. If that excess solar and wind energy were converted to methane and stored as RNG, it would provide enough renewable energy to heat 158,000-370,000 homes or provide renewable electricity to 80,000-187,000 homes.
The University of California at Davis estimates that the natural gas needs of around 2.4 million California homes could be fueled with RNG derived from the state’s existing organic waste. Already, 60% of the fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California is renewable, and SoCalGas expects that to increase to 90% by 2019. READ MORE
DOE, SoCalGas fund project using microbes to convert CO2 into RNG (Biomass Magazine)