The City of Santa Rosa was an IREC Innovation Awardee in 2008 for its Fuel from Aquatic Biomass (FAB) project. Since then, the City recently finished building Phase II of the project, which was constructed to investigate the means of extracting usable energy from harvested algae and aquatic vegetation growing in municipal wastewater. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the California Energy Commission co-funded the City’s efforts to show the capability of using anaerobic digesters to transform aquatic vegetation’s biomass into methane-rich biogas.
The biogas produced from the vegetation’s biomass will be captured and used to charge the City’s electric vehicles. The remaining effluent from the digesters is being used as an agricultural soil amendment. The FAB project will help to offset the negative impact of fossil fuels on the environment and provide a verifiable method for meeting the State of California greenhouse gas reduction goal and as established in AB32.
The City completed Phase I of this project in 2007.
This Phase consisted of building channelized wetlands at the City’s Laguna Subregional Wastewater Treatment Plant to grow aquatic vegetation in municipal wastewater. Since the completion of Phase I, the system has consistently lowered nitrate levels in the effluent water to below the regulatory limit for drinking water and the vegetation growing has shown promising results and is well-suited for anaerobic digestion (Phase II).