Clean Power san antonio water system partners with ameresco on first commercial sewage-to-biogas facility

Published on October 24th, 2010 | by Tina Casey


San Antonio Gets the Scoop on First Commercial Biogas from Municipal Sewage

October 24th, 2010 by  

san antonio water system partners with ameresco on first commercial sewage-to-biogas facilityLeave it to larger-than-life Texas to lead the U.S. into a new energy future. While the state is  most closely associated with oil, it has also been an early pioneer of wind power, and is beginning to embrace solar energy along with armloads of new green jobs. Now the San Antonio Water System has set the national bar high in the sewage-to-biogas field, by becoming the first water district to hook a biogas facility up to a commercial gas pipeline.

Biogas from Sewage

Methane gas, a powerful greenhouse gas, is a natural byproduct of the sewage treatment process. In conventional treatment plant operations, the general practice has been to simply burn it off. More recently, some treatment plants have installed equipment to capture the gas and use it as a power source, which significantly lowers the release of greenhouse emissions. One notable example is in Washington State, where new biogas equipment is being installed in combination with an efficiency overhaul, with the resulting savings enough to power about 210 homes annually.

Recycling Biogas On Site

Other large-scale facilities that manage animal waste are also installing biogas facilities. The advantages are many. Dairy farmers, for example, can use biogas equipment to lower utility costs, reduce waste disposal costs, and grow their business without running afoul of environmental protection regulations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has become a key mover of this trend through its AgStar biogas programBiogas recovery at food processing plants can also help cut utility costs, and help large-scale processors avoid millions in fines due to improper waste disposal practices.

The San Antonio Water System and Biogas Recovery

The new biogas system was installed in partnership with Ameresco, Inc. at the Dos Rios Water Recycling Center. Biogas captured at the facility is sold commercially through a nearby gas pipeline for an estimated $200,000 annually, which will help manage the cost of the treatment facilities. Biogas is just one-third of the Dos Rios “trifecta” as Ameresco calls it. Another component is biosolids, which just as in agricultural operations can be used as fertilizer. Third is the high quality water that comes out of modern sewage treatment plants, which in the case of Dos Rios is good enough to use for irrigating San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk as well as recreation facilities, parks and commercial properties.

Image: San Antonio Riverwalk AndYaDontStop on 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , , , ,

About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network