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Air quality grant covers third of fueling station
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Nearly a third of the cost of building a $6 million compressed biogas fueling facility as part of Manteca’s bid to convert food waste into fuel to power municipal garbage trucks won’t be paid by ratepayers.
The City Council has inked a deal that will provide Manteca with a $1.8 million San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District grant to help offset part of the costs once the facility is up and running.
It is one of four capital improvement projects needed to implement the food waste to fuel program.
The fueling station is being built at the wastewater treatment plant on West Yosemite Avenue near the Union Pacific tracks.
Manteca’s food waste combined with methane gas from the municipal wastewater treatment plant could generate enough compressed bio gas to power properly-equipped vehicles averaging 15 miles per gallon some 3.84 million miles a year.
Those figures are based on data the City of Manteca submitted to the California Energy Commission and the CNGnow website.
If all goes well within two years Manteca will start producing 140,000 diesel gallon equivalents of compressed natural biogas every year. The operation ultimately could yield 256,000 diesel gallon equivalents on an annual basis.
The city also plans to sell any compressed biogas beyond what solid waste trucks use to private sector vehicle owners at the planned fueling station.
Manteca plans to use the CNG it produces to power its solid waste division fleet to meet tightening San Joaquin Valley clean air standards. The food waste conversion will also meet another looming state mandate for jurisdictions to stop burying 90 percent of its biomass waste that includes food waste.
Based on the CNGnow website, a vehicle using CNG for fuel, is drive 20,000 miles a  year and that is getting 15 miles per gallon will spend $2,733 annual on fuel  (CNG prices at $2.773 a gallon) compared to diesel (prices at $3.89 per gallon) that would cost $5,187 as year. For a private  vehicle such as a Ford 250, Dodge Ram 2400 or a Silverado 2500 that are equipped  to burn CNG fuel it would take 3.31 years to recoup the cost difference between a convention engine/fuel setup and CNG.
The fuel savings for the solid waste fleet have been factored into garbage service rates.
Manteca currently flares about 107,000 cubic feet of biogas daily at the wastewater treatment plant. At the same time it burns natural gas in boilers to heat treatment plant digesters.
Some 3,140 tons of restraunt and commercial food waste from Manteca is currently being buried at the Austin Road landfill.
In addition, 290 tons of fat, oil, and grease are exported to a Bay Area disposal firm.
Surveys have shown 45.7 percent of Manteca’s residential garbage consists of food waste. If separated, 9,128 tons of food waste can be diverted to the generation of CNG.
Altogether, the diversion would reduce what Mantea buries by 32 percent a year helping realize ongoing savings.
The California Energy Commission last week informed Manteca its application for a $3,018,000 matching grant to build a community-scale and commercial-scale advanced biofuels production facility has passed the pre-application screening.