By Michael Dabaie
Sempra Energy's Southern California Gas Co., PG&E Corp.'s Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Opus 12 said they demonstrated further advancement of a new electrochemical technology that converts the carbon dioxide content in raw biogas to pipeline-quality renewable natural gas.
The single-step process is designed to use renewable electricity. The 12-month research-and-development effort was funded by SoCalGas and PG&E, and builds on an initial feasibility study in 2018.
Raw biogas is produced from the anaerobic breakdown of waste from sources like landfills, sewage and dairy farms. While current biogas-upgrading technology removes the carbon dioxide from biogas, this new technology captures the carbon dioxide and converts it into additional renewable fuel, the companies said.
The new demonstration shows that improved catalyst activity could speed reactions by five times and nearly double conversion efficiency, making the technology commercially competitive with other new biogas upgrading methods, the companies said.
The core technology was scaled up and tested using commercially available electrolyzer hardware and the next step will be to test the technology for longer periods at an existing biogas facility.
Clean-energy startup Opus 12 said it created a new proprietary Polymer Electrolyte Membrane electrolyzer that uses electricity to convert water and carbon dioxide into renewable natural gas in one step.
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