Pacific Gas and Electricity Company (NYSE:PCG), South California Gas Co, and Opus 12 have announced that they have shown a new electrochemical technology advancement that can convert raw biogas CO2 content into renewable natural gas.
New advancement can convert CO2 into renewable fuel
The new single-step advancement has been designed to utilize renewable electricity, and therefore it offers a long term storage way for excess solar and wind power. PG&E and SoCalGas funded the 12-month R&D initiative built on the success of the previous 2018 feasibility study.
The raw biogas that is usually produced from anaerobic waste breakdown from sewage, dairy farms, and landfills contain around 60% methane and 40% CO2. Current technology usually separates CO2 from biogas, but the latest advancement captures it, and then it is converted into more renewable fuel. According to the new demonstration, the enhanced catalyst activity could increase the rate of reactions fivefold and almost double the conversion efficiency.
Therefore this will make the technology competitive commercially relative to other biogas upgrading methods. The company has already scaled and tested through the available electrolyzer hardware, and now, the next step is testing the tech for longer durations at a biogas facility.
PG&E to tap to the $21 billion fund in California
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted electricity usage in California as shops and businesses remain closed. This has delayed the $10.5 billion bond sales to finance wildfire costs in the future. There has been a drop in efforts to pay down bonds that were sold in the past energy crisis, which need defeasance before the offering of new debts.
In 2019, California’s state agreed to come up with a $21 billion fund aimed at helping utility companies such as PG&E Corp and Edison International. This was to help the companies cover liabilities in the event their equipment causes catastrophic fires. This is the kind of exposure that resulted in PG&E filing for bankruptcy last year, and the initial exit will enable the company to tap into the $21 billion fund.