Nebraska wastewater biogas project complete

A project to use biogas from a wastewater treatment facility as a vehicle fuel in Lincoln, Nebraska, is complete.

The Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Department (LTU) began the biogas sustainability initiative at the Theresa Street Water Resource Recovery Facility in 2017.

The digestion of solids in the wastewater that goes to the facility produced methane. Instead of flaring the gas, the City has used the biogas to generate electricity for the plant since 1991. When the generators reached the end of their lives a few years ago, the operators decided to upgrade the technology to make better use of the biogas. The new process treats, cleans, and transforms the RNG into quality vehicle fuel.

“The sustainability initiative is a major accomplishment for the city as our team continues to upgrade our infrastructure in ways that also protect our environment and quality of life,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.

“With this project completed, we are now actively creating vehicle fuel that is currently being sold on the national market. This upgrade is estimated to generate $2.6 million (€2.1 million) every year, recouping our costs in just 3.3 years. The revenue will help to fund operators and further system improvements.”

The City’s partners in the project include HDR Engineering, Building Crafts, and Black Hills Energy, which built the infrastructure needed to connect the RNG to the national natural gas pipeline system. To get the RNG on the market, the City is also partnering with Bluesource, a national energy management company.

Kevin Jarosz, vice-president of Nebraska Operations at Black Hills Energy, said: “Last year, the company announced its commitment to creating a cleaner energy future, building on our commitment to safe, reliable, and affordable energy, and our history of advancing sustainability in Lincoln.

“This is our third RNG project in Nebraska, and the volume produced in Lincoln is enough to transport football fans on 718,857 one-way trips from SouthPointe Pavilions to Memorial Stadium each year.”

LTU expects the project to produce 100 billion British thermal units of RNG annually, equivalent to approximately 875,000 gallons of petrol.

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