Ameresco has broken ground on a wastewater treatment plant biogas project in Phoenix that will turn biogas, generated by wastewater treatment, into renewable natural gas that can be sold as transportation fuel.
The multi-million dollar plant, slated to be up and running later this year, is expected to be the largest wastewater treatment biogas-to-renewable natural gas facility of its kind in the US, the company says.
It also illustrates the financial opportunity for private corporations in partnering with municipalities — and other companies — on environmental management challenges.
Addressing the annual global environmental damage estimate, projected to reach $28 trillion by 2050, can be a profitable endeavor, Mark Ward, general manager of UL EHS Sustainability, said at the UL EHS Sustainability-hosted user forum last fall. “Our current sustainability challenges — from climate change and water scarcity, to human rights abuse and food waste — are not going away any time soon,” said Ward, during the event.
Speaking at the groundbreaking event for the wastewater treatment biogas project at the 91st Ave Wastewater Treatment Plant (pictured), Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton said making the city more environmentally sustainable “creates exciting new economic opportunities. By partnering with Ameresco at our new processing plant, Phoenix is taking previously untapped raw biogas generated by wastewater treatment and turning it into a renewable energy source that can be sold. This cutting-edge partnership benefits our regional economy and environment at the same time. Phoenix has set ambitious sustainability and renewable energy goals, and this partnership will help us get there.”
Michael T. Bakas, Ameresco senior vice president, said the project, “recognizes the tremendous value and importance of environmental stewardship in conjunction with fueling the local economic growth engine with this new business while at the same time reducing its costs.”
Ameresco will design, build, own, operate and maintain the wastewater biogas-to-energy facility. The wastewater treatment plant is owned by the Sub-Regional Operating Group, made up of Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Tempe, and serves these cities. The city of Phoenix operates the plant.
The project is expected to generate $1.2 million in annual revenue, to be shared among the cities that jointly own the wastewater treatment plant, Biomass Magazine reports.
The 91st Ave biogas project will process the raw biogas generated in the anaerobic digesters into renewable natural gas that will be sold to the vehicle market through the nation’s natural gas pipeline grid. It’s projected capacity is 3,250 standard cubic feet per minute, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 45,000 tons per year.