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San Antonio Generating Gas from Sewage

san antonio

San Antonio, Texas is making use of its 140,000 tons of sewage generated each year to capture methane gas. The city’s utility board of trustees approved a contract this week to sell 900,000 cubic feet of natural gas derived from the sewage each day to Ameresco, a Massachusetts energy services company.

Though methane is a potent greenhouse gas, it has a variety of uses. The substance can be used for fuel in gas turbines or steam boilers, and it is also used as vehicle fuel in the form of compressed natural gas. Additionally, NASA is researching methane as a potential rocket fuel.

According to Steve Claus, the chief operating officer of the water system, San Antonio’s sewage generates 1.5 million cubic feet of gas each day—enough to fill seven commercial blimps or 1,250 tanker trucks. The facilities needed for the project will be ready in about two years.

San Antonio will get $250,000 a year for the methane—a sum that I hope will go towards more renewable energy efforts in the area.

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was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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