NW Natural, an Oregon-based independent natural gas utility, is partnering with the City of Portland to put renewable natural gas (RNG) – converted from the city’s largest wastewater treatment plant – on its pipeline and also into vehicles.
In a recent vote, the Portland City Council authorized the construction of an RNG production facility at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant in north Portland that will recover and clean biogas to pipeline quality for injection into NW Natural’s pipeline.
As reported, the project will also include a natural gas vehicle fueling station.
According to the city, this will be Portland’s single-largest climate action project, working to do the following:
- Cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 21,000 tons annually;
- Generate upward of $3 million in revenue a year for the city; and
- Replace 1.34 million gallons of dirty diesel fuel with clean renewable natural gas – enough to run 154 garbage trucks for an entire year.
“Through partnerships like these, our pipeline system can help communities close the loop on waste, which reduces air pollution and carbon emissions and supports diverse and innovative energy opportunities,” says David H. Anderson, NW Natural’s president and CEO. “We look forward to this being the first of many renewable natural gas projects that move us toward a low-carbon future.”
NW Natural says it will build and maintain the fueling station, as well as the pipeline monitoring and interconnection. The city and NW Natural believe this is an important first step toward promoting RNG in Oregon.
“RNG is the lowest-carbon fuel option for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles,” says Bill Edmonds, director of environmental policy and sustainability at NW Natural.
The company says large trucks with new natural gas engines can produce 90% fewer nitrous oxide emissions compared with the cleanest diesel engine. By using RNG, that same truck’s greenhouse-gas emissions can drop 80% below diesel.
“No other technology on the market today provides that combination of environmental benefits all at once,” comments Edmonds.
The City of Portland will be on a tariff approved by the Public Utility Commission of Oregon that allows the utility to install and maintain compression facilities for customers who need on-site fueling. The fueling station is projected to be online as early as the end of 2017 and will be used for environmental services and other city trucks.