Partners Open Renewable Natural Gas Research Center At UC Riverside

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has marked the establishment of a new Center for Renewable Natural Gas at the University of California, Riverside.

According to the utility, the center is among the first academic establishments in the U.S. dedicated to the study and applied research of renewable gas technologies. It was partly funded by SoCalGas, with a matching donation from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, and is part of UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology.

The center will focus on improving technologies and removing barriers to increase renewable gas use in California and beyond. To do so, it will conduct research on high-yield renewable natural gas production; storing renewable energy with power-to-gas technology; technologies that can increase renewable gas use in heavy-duty trucking and other transportation; market and policy issues; and potential sites for renewable gas production projects.

“Renewable gas can play a key role in reducing greenhouse-gases and meeting California’s renewable energy goals,” says Lisa Alexander, vice president of customer solutions and communications for SoCalGas. “In California, the agriculture and waste industries produce a great deal of methane that could – and should – be used as renewable gas to heat homes, and fuel power plants and near-zero-emissions trucks. We applaud the leadership of the university in establishing an academic center to prove out and advance the technologies needed to develop renewable gas on a large scale in the state.”

Arun Raju, director of the Center for Renewable Natural Gas, says this partnership will help California meet several greenhouse-gas and renewable energy targets.

“Renewable natural gas is an important alternative fuel that can help utilize local renewable resources and eliminate waste disposal problems. Through the Center for Renewable Natural Gas, we will work with our partners in government and industry to advance research, development and demonstration towards increasing commercial RNG production and use,” says Raju.

“We support the center at UC Riverside because renewable natural gas deployment in near-zero emission trucks provides a triple win for the region: green jobs, sustainable transportation and lower tailpipe emissions,” adds Wayne Nastri, executive officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

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