NACWA staff, along with a coalition from the California Association of Sanitary Agencies (CASA), Water Environment Federation (WEF), Water Research Foundation, and Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), met with senior staff members of the EPA Office of Transportation last week to discuss opportunities for biosolids in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The RFS program offers incentives for the production of renewable transportation fuels, including fuels produced from biosolids. The discussion specifically focused on the significance of utilizing co-digestion of food waste to greatly enhance the production of biogas.
Despite the large increases of biogas production, these improvements are not eligible for cellulosic biofuel designation, which comes with the valuable D3 Renewable Identification Number (RIN). D3 RINs are currently sold at a higher cost than other RINs, resulting in higher profits for utilities that produce transportation fuels from biosolids.
This meeting with EPA was a productive first step in a continuing dialogue to ensure wastewater treatment facilities can contribute to the national energy mix in a way that is efficient and financially sound. If you have any questions about this emerging issue, please contact NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Cynthia Finley, or consider joining NACWA’s Energy Workgroup.