Another technological innovation that looks promising.
L.A. to turn sludge from treated wastewater into energy
Methane gas from biosolids pumped into deep wells in San Pedro will run fuel cells.
By Duke Helfand
Times Staff Writer
April 6, 2007
Los Angeles city officials broke ground Thursday on a renewable energy project in San Pedro they touted as an innovative way to produce electricity for about 3,000 homes while saving money, reducing truck traffic on local roadways and cutting greenhouse emissions.
Officials unveiled the five-year plan at the city's Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant, calling it a first-of-its-kind in the country that could serve as a model for other cities.
"This renewable energy project is absolutely electrifying," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in announcing the plan, which is part of a broader effort to increase the city's use of alternative energy sources. "It will save money and make money."
The renewable energy project calls for injecting spongy organic material left over from treated wastewater into depleted oil and gas reservoirs more than a mile underground.
High temperatures and pressure in those pockets will compress the biosolid material, creating methane gas that will be captured to power fuel cells on the surface, engineers say. The underground processes also will dissolve carbon dioxide that the organic material would normally release into the air, removing the equivalent of exhaust from 3,200 cars each year over the next five years.