Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the City won the 2013 Energy Vision Award from Energy Vision, a national non-profit organization that promotes clean, renewable, petroleum-free transportation fuels. The event, taking place in New York City, honored the city because of the fully closed-loop system for turning organic wastes—long considered just garbage—into fuel that is now being used to power the trucks collecting the waste.
“Sacramento is no newcomer to natural gas vehicles – we’ve been all-in for many years,” said Keith Leech, Sacramento Fleet Manager and recipient of this award on behalf of the City. “But now, by turning our waste into a renewable form of natural gas, we’re achieving a 90 percent or more reduction in greenhouse gases, at no extra cost to the city or taxpayers.”
Sharing the honors for the Sacramento project were the private sector entrepreneurs in this new fuel arena whose collaboration led to success:
- CleanWorld, located right here in Sacramento, built a groundbreaking anaerobic digestion technology system – the largest system of its kind in North America – where organic wastes from households, businesses, food processors, restaurants and commercial establishments go to decompose and generate methane “biogases.”
- BioCNG, LLC, a Wisconsin-based company that designed the system for refining the biogases into a fuel, which is nearly chemically identical to the fossil-based pipeline natural gas that the country has traditionally used. The refinement involves removal from the biogases of the CO2, impurities such as siloxanes, and water so what remains is 97-98% methane.
- Atlas ReFuel, also a locally based company here in Sacramento, whose trucks collect these wastes and take them to the digester and are now powered by the fuel produced
- Clean Energy Fuels, which built the natural gas refueling station where the fuel is delivered to the trucks.