Forest waste-to-RNG technology to be demonstrated in California

By PLACER COUNTY | September 10, 2015

A new technology for converting forestry waste into renewable natural gas will be demonstrated for the first time ever Sept. 14 in Auburn, California.

The process, developed by Canadian firm G4 Insights, converts scraps and small trees from forest thinning projects into a renewable natural gas called biomethane. In its first public demonstration, G4 will exhibit the demonstration plant used to produce the gas, and fuel an unmodified Placer County truck with gas produced on site.

Renewable natural gas produced from forestry waste could serve a helpful role in alternative energy production, especially in heavily forested areas. Typically, forestry waste is burned where trees are felled to reduce wildfire hazards, which increases air pollution locally. Converting it into natural gas instead would reduce pollution and increase the supply of sustainably-produced clean energy. Future production facilities near large sources of waste have the potential to provide jobs and other economic benefits to rural, forest communities.

The G4 technology uses raw, untreated forestry waste that otherwise has no commercial use. Competing technologies require clean wood chips, stripped of bark, from harvested trees that could be used for other purposes.

Grant funding to build the demonstration plant was provided by the California Energy Commission. Placer County provided G4 with forestry waste from Tahoe National Forest, workspace and logistical support at its transportation yard in North Auburn, and assisted with the planning, coordination and preliminary environmental permitting for a potential larger-scale pilot facility in Placer County.

For more event details contact the Placer County Public Information Office at piostaff@placer.ca.gov or 530-889-464.