California joint venture to recycle waste cooking oil into biogas

By Encina Wastewater Authority | January 22, 2014

The Carlsbad, Calif.-based Encina Wastewater Authority announced the award of a contract to J.R. Filanc Construction and partnership with Liquid Environmental Solutions to build an alternative fuel receiving facility that will recycle waste cooking oil and other food wastes. These organic materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill will be used to produce renewable energy to help the EWA achieve energy independence.

EWA currently produces nearly 80 percent of its 2.2 megawatt (MW) annual electricity demand from biogas that is created during the wastewater treatment process. Wastewater treatment is a biological process, relying on bacteria or “bugs” to decompose biological and chemical waste. This process results in the release of methane gases that are recaptured through EWA’s PureEnergy program and are used to power biogas engines that generate electricity at EWA and deliver heat to other EWA system processes.

“Through our joint venture and design-build contract with J.R. Filanc Construction and HDR Engineering, and a fuel delivery partnership with Liquid Environmental Solutions, our commitment to the alternative fuel receiving project means that EWA will soon be a ‘net-zero’ energy consumer. Using resources embedded in the wastewater stream to achieve energy independence is key to sustainable water resources management,” said Kevin Hardy, general manager at Encina Wastewater Authority.

The alternative fuel receiving project will deliver fats, oils and grease (FOG), liquefied food waste and other higher strength digestible organic substrate to the EWA’s Water Pollution Control Facility. This waste will be anaerobically digested to yield additional biogas fuel to supplement current unused digestion capacity. EWA anticipates the project will pay for itself during the first 4 years of operation.    

“This investment reflects EWA’s mission to provide sustainable and fiscally responsible services while maximizing the use of alternative and renewable resources,” said Jim Poltl, chair of the EWA board of directors. “Infrastructure investments that result in outstanding environmental outcomes and enhance our energy self-sufficiency help EWA save money on operating costs and keep rates low for all our customers here in north San Diego county.”

Construction of the Alternative Fuel Receiving Facility is expected to commence during the 1st quarter of 2014 with completion approximately six months later.

Founded in 1961, EWA is an environmental leader. As a model of excellence and innovation, EWA offers four products and services that provide sustainable and fiscally responsible wastewater services to the communities it serves while maximizing the use of alternative and renewable resources. EWA has been a U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership Leadership Club since 2011 and operates an award winning facility in Carlsbad, Calif.