“The Portland City Council unanimously approved on Wednesday the construction of a $9 million facility to convert methane gas in the city’s sewer system into natural gas. City officials plan to sell that natural gas through a Portland-based natural gas distributor to governments and organizations looking to replace diesel fuel in cars, buses, garbage trucks and other fleets of vehicles.”
The man who will oversee the project, Commissioner Nick Fish of the Bureau of Environmental Services, put it bluntly while speaking with The Oregonian.
“We’re going to be turning poop into power,” he said.
Portland already has two solid waste treatment plants, where 77 percent of the sewer system’s methane is converted into energy. The new facility will allow that remaining 23 percent to be converted into natural gas.
“From an environmental point of view, it’s not just about our local air quality,” Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson told The Oregonian. “It’s about reducing carbon emissions. We need to walk our talk.”
The natural gas product, which will be sold as credits based on volume purchased, could potentially replace diesel fuel in the city’s government vehicle fleets, says Paul Suto of the Environmental Services Bureau. Revenue from the new program is expected to reach $3 million to $10 million annually.
Additionally, the city approved nearly $3 million in contracts with Northwest Natural, a Portland-based company that will operate a station to fuel vehicles with natural gas and transport the product to buyers.