A Grand Valley Transit bus preparing to refuel at Grand Junction's CNG station.

The city uses compressed natural gas from its wastewater treatment facility for a CNG fueling station in a first-of-its kind project

Grand Junction, Colo., is setting an example for other cities to follow by capitalizing on resources to create alternative fuels. With support from the Southern Colorado Clean Cities Coalition, Grand Junction and its partners leveraged a state grant and seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) State Energy Program to build a 5-mile underground pipeline. The pipeline is used to transport compressed natural gas (CNG) from a local wastewater treatment facility to a CNG station. The biogas produced at the facility, which was once flared off, is now being converted to CNG that fuels city owned fleets and county owned buses.

The Southern Colorado Clean Cities Coalition, which is supported by DOE’s Clean Cities program, helped develop a long-term strategic plan and identified funding opportunities through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

The two primary goals of the project were to stabilize and lower fuel costs, as well as reduce the city fleet’s emissions. In addition, Grand Junction wanted to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

Similar to other wastewater treatment facilities, Grand Junction’s Persigo Plant uses an anaerobic digester to break down organic matter in the sewage and produces renewable natural gas (biomethane) as a byproduct. The renewable natural gas is then cleaned and treated to meet transportation fuel quality standards. The result is 400-500 gallons that are available daily to fuel 37 city owned CNG fleet vehicles. This is equivalent to displacing 165,000 gallons of gasoline and reducing carbon emissions by 3 million pounds in a year, according to the city. The CNG station is open to the public and provides an alternative fuel option for motorists in the area.

Read the full post on DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy blog.