Portland, Oregon is turning what we flush down the toilet into something safe for the planet.
When it comes to renewable resources, we’re pretty good candidates ourselves, at least when it comes to the waste we produce. After all, with over seven billion of us on the planet, and all of us, you know, creating waste on a (hopefully) daily basis, we’ve got a lot of sewage to work with. And now, the Oregon city has found a way to do just that.
Just before Earth Day this year, the Portland Environmental Services announced a “groundbreaking project that will convert waste methane from the city’s sewage treatment process into renewable natural gas.” So yes, friends. Your gas is being converted into gas that you need.
The resulting fuel promises to be both clean and locally produced (in more ways than one), and will be sold in Portland and other areas as a replacement for diesel fuel in trucks. Apparently, this project will be hugely beneficial to our planet at large, as Portland promises that this repurposing of our natural waste ought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21,000 tons a year. Moreover, it’s projected to generate more than $3 million in revenue on an annual basis, and will replace 1.34 million gallons of diesel fuel (154 garbage trucks’ worth) with renewable gas.
“We are creating a triple-win for the public in terms of revenue, climate action, and cleaner air,” said Portland Commissioner Nick Fish. “The renewable natural gas we will produce is truly local and homegrown, a by-product of the waste from every Portland household that we can now repurpose.”
Portland hopes that by the end of the year, the fueling station will be finished and ready for use by Environmental Services and other city trucks. By the end of next year, Environmental Services thinks it can begin sending renewable natural gas into NW Natural’s network.
“Because our product is a renewable fuel and not a fossil fuel, it commands a five-to-ten times higher price on the renewable energy market,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan. “Doing the right thing turns out to be a great deal.”
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