UC Riverside and SoCalGas Announce Opening of New Research Center

Center for Renewable Natural Gas focuses on reduction of carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy in California

A photo of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Representatives from the University of California, Riverside Center for Environmental Research & Technology and SoCalGas held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently established Center for Renewable Natural Gas.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — The University of California, Riverside and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today marked the establishment of a new Center for Renewable Natural Gas. The Center is the first academic establishment in the United States dedicated to the study and applied research of renewable gas technologies. It was funded in part by SoCalGas with a matching donation from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST) and is part of UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT). See photos.

Just like electricity, natural gas can be made from renewable sources.  The Center will focus on improving technologies and removing barriers to increase renewable gas use in California and beyond. To do so it will conduct research on:

  • High-yield renewable natural gas production
  • Storing renewable energy with power-to-gas technology
  • Technologies that can increase renewable gas use in heavy-duty trucking and other transportation
  • Market and policy issues
  • Potential sites for renewable gas production projects

“Renewable gas can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gases and meeting California’s renewable energy goals,” said Lisa Alexander, vice president of customer solutions and communications for SoCalGas.  “In California, the agriculture and waste industries produce a great deal of methane that could—and should—be used as renewable gas to heat homes, and fuel power plants and near-zero-emissions trucks.  We applaud the leadership of the university in establishing an academic center to prove out and advance the technologies needed to develop renewable gas on a large scale in the state.”

Arun Raju, director of the Center for Renewable Natural Gas, said this partnership will help California meet several Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and renewable energy targets.

“Renewable natural gas is an important alternative fuel that can help utilize local renewable resources and eliminate waste disposal problems. Through the Center for Renewable Natural Gas we will work with our partners in government and industry to advance research, development and demonstration towards increasing commercial RNG production and use,” Raju said.

“We support the Center at UC Riverside because renewable natural gas deployment in near-zero emission trucks provides a triple win for the region: green jobs, sustainable transportation and lower tailpipe emissions,” said Wayne Nastri, executive officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Renewable gas is produced from decomposing organic waste from dairies, agriculture, landfills, wastewater treatment plants and other sources. This methane can be harnessed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create additional renewable energy.  California could produce enough renewable gas each year to replace 75 percent of the smog-producing diesel fuel used by vehicles in our state.  Just like fossil natural gas, renewable gas can be stored and delivered through existing infrastructure.

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