For Immediate Release: July 7, 2011
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989


California Biogas Project Wins 'Oscar of Innovation' from R&D Magazine

SACRAMENTO - A new process that uses municipal solid waste to produce increased amounts of biogas while reducing emissions has won a prestigious R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine.

With the help of a $1,830,132 grant from the California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, the Enhanced Renewable Methane Production System is being developed by Eurisko Scientific and the Argonne National Laboratory. The new technology is being demonstrated at the Sacramento Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant in Elk Grove, California.

"This low-cost process can boost the production of biomethane at least fivefold while capturing carbon dioxide," said Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd. "The technology can help cities and counties turn waste into a new source of revenue by producing surplus energy as electricity and heat, and the biogas it creates will help Californians reduce our reliance on imported oil. If all of California's wastewater treatment plants adopted this system, the biomethane produced could displace 29 percent of all diesel fuel consumed in the state, eliminating more than 7.3 million tons of CO2 yearly."

In addition to improving the rate and volume of biogas production, the Argonne process also increases the amount of biomethane in the gas, improving its energy content. The patent-pending system reduces impurities in the gas and produces byproducts of carbonates that can also be sold. The system could be used at farms and landfills as well as wastewater treatment plants.

"Methane is a fungible fuel that can be used in homes and industry, produce clean electricity, and even run vehicles. Renewable methane enables us to meet these markets without using fossil resources and while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Seth Snyder, Section Leader of Process Technology Research at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. "Argonne is proud to work with Eurisko Scientific, an innovative California technology company, and our local municipal districts, to demonstrate the new platform for enhancing renewable methane production and helping to commercialize this important clean energy source."

Since 1962, the R&D 100 Awards have been given out annually for high-technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research. Organized by R&D Magazine and often called the "Oscars of Innovation," the awards identify the 100 most significant new research and development advances made in numerous product areas.

"We at Eurisko are excited that we were able to bring together the technical expertise of Argonne National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, with the foresight of the California Energy Commission, which is leading our nation in the advancement to develop sources of renewable energy," said Taras Lyssenko, Eurisko Scientific's Director of Government Relations and Business Development.

Assembly Bill 118 (Núñez, Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007) created the California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The statute, amended by Assembly Bill 109 (Núñez, Chapter 313, Statutes of 2008), authorizes the Energy Commission to develop and deploy alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies to help achieve the state's climate change policies.

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