April 20, 2017
Every year, BES processes 28 billion gallons of wastewater. A natural byproduct of sewage treatment is methane, a potent greenhouse gas. For years, the City has been capturing a portion of this methane gas to produce electricity. The rest gets burned off in a process called “flaring” where it turns into carbon dioxide (another potent greenhouse gas) and gets released into the atmosphere.
At the Bureau of Environmental Services, we know that what’s good for the environment is also good for our ratepayers. That’s why, in celebration of Earth Day, we are launching an innovative venture to turn waste into clean energy while earning money for Portlanders.
Or, to put it more crudely—turning poop into power!
And it’s a triple-win.
Starting this summer, BES will capture 100 percent of the methane from Portlanders’ waste, dramatically reducing our carbon footprint (win #1).
We will then convert the methane into renewable natural gas to reduce our reliance on dirty diesel (win #2).
And through our partnership with local utility NW Natural, we’ll generate $3 million each year for our ratepayers (win #3).