Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and waste management company CR&R Environmental announced that renewable natural gas from CR&R’s anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, California, is now being used to fuel CR&R’s waste-hauling trucks. The trucks are being fueled from special storage trailers while SoCalGas completes a 1.4-mile pipeline that will bring the carbon-neutral renewable natural gas into the SoCalGas distribution system.


This will be the first time that renewable natural gas supply will be directly interconnected with and piped into the SoCalGas system. SoCalGas’s connecting pipeline and the cleanup system to produce the renewable natural gas have been paid for by CR&R Environmental with grant support from the California Energy Commission, CalRecycle and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Photos of the pipeline under construction may be found here.


The pipeline is scheduled to be completed in early April and will extend from an existing SoCalGas pipeline to CR&R’s newly completed digestion facility. Once SoCalGas completes construction of its measurement, monitoring and control equipment—slated for early June—renewable natural gas from the digestion facility will be piped into SoCalGas’s pipeline system for distribution to CR&R natural gas fueling sites and other natural gas fueling facilities. Up to 320 of CR&R’s recycling and waste collection vehicles operating in Southern California will use this zero-carbon fuel.  


CR&R’s Perris anaerobic digester, supplied exclusively in California to CR&R by Eisenmann USA and Greenlane Biogas, uses source-separated organic waste collected in cities’ green collection carts to produce carbon-neutral renewable methane. This gas will then be further refined using pollution-free technology and distributed through SoCalGas’s pipeline infrastructure. Such renewable natural gas is interchangeable with conventional natural gas and can be used to fuel heavy-duty trucks, generate electricity or fuel heating systems. CR&R’s Perris digestion facility is believed to be the largest in the world. 


“Using renewable natural gas to fuel CR&R’s trucks is another important milestone toward our goal of increasing the use of this carbon-neutral fuel in our pipeline system,” said Lisa Alexander, SoCalGas’s Vice President, Customer Solutions and Communications. “We look forward to increasing our use of renewable gas to help California reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the state’s renewable energy goals.” 


“The Energy Commission is pleased to invest in projects like CR&R’s biomethane operation that are helping the state transition to cleaner, low-carbon fuels,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “This transition is a vital part of California’s effort to achieve our greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, improve our air quality and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.” 


“This project, when fully completed, will be a triple play—it reduces green waste, connects renewable natural gas to a pipeline and uses the renewable natural gas to fuel heavy-duty trucks,” said California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Officer Richard Corey. “It’s the kind of visionary project that will be commonplace in the future, and delivers on California’s promise that fighting climate change will provide a range of sustainable, low-carbon solutions with multiple environmental benefits.” 


“It’s exciting to see California’s climate change investments come to fruition,” said CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline. “The ability of anaerobic digesters to connect to the pipeline distribution system is a key component of making many of these projects happen. CR&R’s new digester is an example of the kind of infrastructure California needs as we move to reduce landfill emissions of methane, a potent short-lived climate pollutant, and to achieve the statewide goal of recycling or composting 75% of our discards.” 


“This project will provide a greater local supply of renewable natural gas,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s Executive Officer. “Coupled with near-zero emission engines, this will help accelerate the transition to cleaner truck fleets in the South Coast region,” he said. “The resulting emission reductions from cleaner fleets is a key strategy in SCAQMD’s recently adopted air quality plan to help achieve clean air.” 


Studies show California can produce enough renewable natural gas from organic waste to replace 75% of diesel fuel used by vehicles in the state.