SoCalGas' hydrothermal project to receive DOE funding

The US Energy Department (DOE) has chosen Southern California Gas' (SoCalGas) pilot hydrothermal wastewater processing project for a federal funding of up to $1.2m.

The pilot project will convert wastewater solids into renewable natural gas and liquid fuels with the help of hydrothermal processing technology.

The firm intends to use the DOE funding to pay for approximately half of the design and planning of  the pilot plant to generate renewable fuels at a municipal wastewater treatment facility in Oakland, California.

SoCalGas will oversee the project's design as well as assist in achieving state and federal regulatory approvals and incentives.

SoCalGas business strategy and advanced technology director Jeff Reed said: "SoCalGas and its partners have demonstrated that this process can very effectively convert wastewater solids into renewable natural gas, using existing infrastructure, to help replace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"This new technology could have an enormous impact on energy and waste.

"Converting the wastewater solids produced by treatment plants in the US with hydrothermal processing could produce about 128 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year and save treatment utilities $2.2bn in solids disposal costs."

The new technology will make use of water, heat and pressure to transform waste solids from the wastewater treatment plant into biocrude and methane gas.