Sticky Article Western Virginia Water Authority Borrows from Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund for Innovative Biogas Project
Western Virginia Water Authority Borrows from Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund for Innovative Biogas Project
The Western Virginia Water Authority (Authority) and Roanoke Gas Company (Roanoke Gas) have entered into a cooperative agreement to produce commercial quality renewable natural gas, or RNG, from biogas produced at the Roanoke Regional Water Pollution Control Plant (WPC Plant). This RNG product, the first of its kind in the Commonwealth, will necessitate construction of a digester gas conditioning system and interconnect facility at the WPC Plant. Representatives from the Authority, Roanoke Gas and the community broke ground on this phase of the project on May 17, 2022.

“While this gas has been used as a fuel source at the facility over the years, this exciting next generation of resource recovery of digester gas will utilize a new approach to maximize the benefit to the broader community” according to Michael McEvoy, Executive Director of the Western Virginia Water Authority.

Phase 1 of the project, which is 50% complete, consists of a $12.9 million renovation of five primary anaerobic digesters at the WPC Plant including rehabilitation of concrete structures, digester roof repairs or replacements, valve and piping replacements and installation of new mixing systems that will aid in the production of additional Biogas. Funding for Phase 1 was provided through the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Virginia Resources Authority.

Phase 2 of the project, which is being funded by Roanoke Gas Company, utilizes an advanced membrane separation system where raw digester gas will be refined to commercial quality natural gas for use within the greater Roanoke community, creating the potential for the protection of the environment and complete recycling of waste at a level only imagined a decade ago. This cooperative project is an example of another area for energy recovery beginning to be realized within the wastewater treatment industry and will have far reaching benefits within the community and beyond. At full buildout, the proposed digester gas conditioning system will have the ability to treat a biogas design flow of 550,000 cubic feet per day (cfd) to create commercial quality RNG.

Multiple treatment technologies were evaluated and the selected company, Unison Solutions, is a recognized industry leader in biogas treatment technology. Unison has a demonstrated history of success providing the treatment technology for similar gas treatment projects as this market emerges within the United States.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Western Virginia Water Authority on such an impactful and needed project,” stated Paul Nester, president and CEO of Roanoke Gas Company. “Our shared desires to improve the environment, utilize the best technology and most importantly, serve this community, have spurred approximately $17.5 million dollars of combined investment and added a much needed source of safe, clean natural gas.” Roanoke Gas projects this new supply source will provide enough natural gas to heat 500 homes on a cold, winter day.

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