CR&R Environmental Services, a Southern California recycling and waste collection company, has announced the construction of phase one of their anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, California. In total the project will have four phases that will convert 400,000 tons of organic waste into renewable natural gas (RNG). At full production this facility will be the largest project of its kind in the nation.
The process begins with the green material and food waste collected from their Southern California curbside waste program. After initial sorting and processing, this conditioned organic material feeds the anaerobic digester and is converted into biogas, and eventually RNG.
CR&R’s project acts as a closed loop model of sustainability by utilizing the RNG produced to fuel their curbside collection vehicles. Phase one will fuel an initial 70 collection vehicles, and following phases will eventually produce enough RNG to inject into the Southern California Gas Pipeline. Mike Silva, civil engineer and project manager, recognizes that it will be challenging to get their "biogas cleaned to the stringent California pipeline standards", but is confident that they "…will be one of the first in the state to accomplish this."
In addition to the creation of RNG, the nutrient rich by-products of the facility have environmental benefits as natural soil amendments and fertilizers, which can be used for sustainable agriculture, nurseries, and home gardens.
Phase 1 is predicted to be complete in the first quarter of 2015, but the rest of the project’s timeline is heavily dependent on the amount of state grants that CR&R receives. Paul Relis, Senior Vice President sees these grants as a valuable investment for the state, as "grant funds allow the state to seed projects that will ensure the success of California’s ambitious organic waste diversion goals."
Despite this financial uncertainty, Silva optimistically says "We are excited to get construction for phase 1 in full swing. After five years of careful planning it’s nice to see the steel finally coming out of the ground."
CAW is proud to support CR&R in this endeavor, and we hope to see more digesters and composting facilities through Southern California and the rest of the state.
Learn more about CAW's current efforts to pave the way for projects like this:
- AB 1826 will require businesses to ensure that their organic waste gets recycled.
- AB 1594 will eliminate a loophole in state law that encourages local governments to landfill millions of tons of clean yard waste each year.
- The recently adopted budget included significant funding for grants and loans for organics recycling facilities.