SoCalGas Push to Claim The Title of The Largest RNG Endeavor in California

SoCalGas, the Southern California Gas Co., has submitted an application to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in support of a pioneering pilot initiative. The proposed project aims to harness the potential of organic waste, including chipped wood and nut shells, and convert them into renewable natural gas (RNG).

If granted approval, this groundbreaking project would claim the title of the largest RNG endeavor in California. The ambitious venture is projected to generate an impressive 4.5 billion cubic feet of fuel annually from 400,000 to 500,000 tons of agricultural waste. This production volume would effectively surpass the historical RNG deliveries of 2022 from preexisting projects within SoCalGas’s service jurisdiction. This environmentally conscious effort could potentially offset the carbon impact of up to 52,000 gasoline-powered vehicles each year, demonstrating its positive impact on reducing emissions and promoting sustainability.

The venture’s execution is planned to be undertaken by San Joaquin Renewables LLC, headquartered in McFarland, California. As per the direction from CPUC, SoCalGas has put forth a funding proposal of approximately $13 million, intending to draw from cap-and-trade funds. Pending approval, which might occur as early as May 2024, the project’s operational launch is tentatively set for late 2026.

Neil Navin, the Chief Clean Fuels Officer at SoCalGas, emphasized the significance of renewable natural gas in California’s decarbonization efforts. He underlined how it remains a pivotal aspect, in conjunction with other decarbonization strategies like electrification, hydrogen, and carbon management, in the state’s pursuit of a cleaner energy landscape.

T.J. Paskach, President of San Joaquin Renewables, highlighted the eco-friendly nature of converting biomass into renewable natural gas. This approach provides a sustainable and renewable energy source derived from waste materials. The initiative’s benefits extend beyond energy generation, as it contributes to curbing dependence on fossil fuels and improving air quality within the Central Valley through the production of a carbon-negative fuel. Additionally, the project is expected to create numerous high-quality job opportunities in McFarland.

Operational mechanics of the project involve a non-combustion process that transforms agricultural waste into a diverse mixture of gases, including hydrogen. Subsequently, the mixture undergoes purification and compression, rendering it suitable for use as renewable natural gas (RNG). This forward-looking approach represents a significant step toward fostering cleaner energy solutions and a more sustainable future.

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  • Samson Adeyemo

    An experienced broadcast and print media journalist with nose for news and proven track records of success without compromising objectivity.

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