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San Antonio Will Convert Human Waste to Energy

By Bob Ewing     Sep 9, 2008 in Environment
San Antonio is planning to convert human waste to energy thus making it the first United States city to harvest methane gas from human waste.
San Antonio plans to harvest methane gas from human waste on a commercial scale and turn it into clean-burning fuel. This will make the Texas city the first in the United states to do do.
San Antonio residents produce about 140,000 tons a year of "biosolids," which can be reprocessed into natural gas.
"You may call it something else," Steve Clouse, chief operating officer of the city's water system. said.
Whatever you call it, the main byproduct of human waste, methane gas, will soon be converted into natural gas to burn in their power plants.
San Antonio has approved a deal where Massachusetts-based Ameresco Inc will convert the city's biosolids into natural gas, which could generate about 1.5 million cubic feet per day..
Methane gas is a byproduct of human and organic waste and is a principal component of the natural gas used to fuel furnaces, power plants, and other combustion-based generators.
"The private vendor will come onto the facility, construct some gas cleaning systems, remove the moisture, remove the carbon dioxide content, and then sell that gas on the open market," Clouse said.
The gas will be sold to power generators.
There are communities using methane gas harvested from solid waste to power smaller facilities like sewage treatment plants, but San Antonio is the first to see large-scale conversion of methane gas from sewage into fuel for power generation.
More than 90 percent of materials flushed down the toilets and sinks of San Antonio will be recycled, he said. Currently, the Liquid is used for irrigation and many of the solids are made into compost, and now the methane gas will be recycled for power generation.
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