Nineteen San Francisco agencies representing over four million residents are working on an unprecedented collaborative effort to create options for local sustainable biosolids management. The agencies operate under a joint exercise of powers agreement with Delta Diablo (District) as the lead agency.
The main goal of the Bay Area Biosolids to Energy Coalition (BAB2E) is to harness the energy in the biosolids and convert it to useful energy products, such as transportation fuel in the form of renewable diesel, biomethane, and hydrogen; electricity, as well as other products that can be used locally to offset fossil fuel usage. Other goals of the Coalition include:
- Create a long-term, reliable renewable energy project benefiting society and the environment
- Meet or exceed all environmental regulations and reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHG)
- Generate local, renewable energy and/or fuel with sustainable local biomass resources
- Secure State and Federal funding - essential to commercial demonstration of emerging technology
- Multiple BAB2E facilities in the Bay Area to minimize hauling of biosolids
- Create new green jobs from facility construction to operation
- Support Public-Private Partnerships in the development of BAB2E
In addition to clean water, the wastewater treatment process produces biosolids. The Bay Area generates over 158,000 dry metric tons of biosolids annually. Presently, the options for using biosolids are limited primarily to land application and alternative daily cover in landfills. Agencies would like to see these beneficial uses preserved. However, these practices require a lot of hauling (over one million miles annually for BAB2E agencies). These practices are also subject to increasingly restrictive regulations and diminishing landfill capacity.
Biosolids have energy value that can help California meet its clean energy goals. Biosolids from publicly owned wastewater treatment plants, produced 24/7, can help meet the 33 percent renewable portfolio standards goal, other clean energy, transportation fuel, and AB 32 goals.
Clean, non-combustion technologies exist that can convert biosolids to electrical power. Other technology approaches are being developed to convert biosolids to valuable resources, such as hydrogen gas and drop-in vehicle fuel. The Coalition seeks to bring these options to the Bay Area for local application. In addition to producing energy, deploying these options in the Bay Area would reduce hauling miles and the emissions associated with hauling.
Please see the BAB2E website at www.bayareabiosolids.com for additional information.