Los Angeles, Calif., issues RFI for biomass technologies

By Lisa Gibson | May 09, 2012

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has issued a request for information (RFI) about biomass conversion technologies, as well as algae production systems and processes for Owens Lake.

The lake is mostly dry, occupying approximately 110 square miles on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in Inyo County, Calif. LADWP currently floods about 29 square miles of the lake’s surface with up to 95,000 acre-feet of freshwater from its aqueduct each year to control dust emissions from the lake. That freshwater, however, eventually becomes saline because of the lake’s salts.

The vast flooded area should be an ideal location to produce algae because an extensive water conveyance system is already in place and could be further modified, according to the LADWP. The algae produced on the lake, combined with 50 other local sources of biomass, could be converted to syngas or methane and used to produce power, biofuels or chemicals, the RFI states.

Eventually, LADWP envisions a commercial-scale algae production operation to produce power and other bioproducts, but also to improve water quality and recycle nutrients for the existing plants and algae, among other goals.

Anyone interested in submitting a response should log on to the LADWP’s website and register at the eRST online purchasing system web page. There, all documents regarding the RFI, as well as instructions for submissions, can be obtained.