Brown and Caldwell Collaborates on Groundbreaking Waste-To-Energy Study

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Brown and Caldwell, environmental engineering and construction firm, is playing an integral role on a national team that will plan for and design a pilot plant to produce clean hydrocarbon fuels at a municipal wastewater treatment facility. The project, funded by a Department of Energy (DOE) research grant and SoCalGas, and led by long-time research partner Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), will use breakthrough technology to produce fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and renewable natural gas from wastewater solids.

The technology, called Hydrothermal Processing, converts waste solids from a wastewater treatment plant into biocrude oil and methane gas. The biocrude and methane replaces conventional oil and gas, providing green fuels with dramatically-reduced net new carbon emissions. The renewable methane gas can be used in the same ways as natural gas. Biocrude produced in the system will be refined in an existing refinery, while the methane gas will be sold for transport in the gas pipeline system or used onsite to offset needs elsewhere in the plant. In addition to producing renewable energy, Hydrothermal Processing has the potential to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions at wastewater treatment plants by replacing the anaerobic digesters.

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