Converting Campus Waste Streams into Locally Used Energy Products through Steam Hydrogasification and Methane Reformation

EPA Grant Number: SU834709
Title: Converting Campus Waste Streams into Locally Used Energy Products through Steam Hydrogasification and Methane Reformation
Investigators: Norbeck, Joseph , Brendecke, Phillip , Comfort, Joshua , Duchon, Douglas , Stasiuk, Stephanie , Tam, Kawai , Vo, Thinh
Current Investigators: Norbeck, Joseph , Bagtang, Michael , Brendecke, Phillip , Duchon, Alex , Duchon, Douglas , Park, Chan Seung , Pichette, Joseph , Stasiuk, Stephanie , Tam, Kawai
Institution: University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $9,999
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Current energy usage throughout the world originates predominantly from fossil fuels. There is a critical need to develop and apply efficient technologies to produce clean sustainable fuels. This project will investigate the use of co-mingled carbonaceous waste streams from the UCR campus to produce clean liquid transportation fuels. This would reduce material sent to landfills, develop a clean sustainable transportation fuel and significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emission footprint of the campus.


The overall Waste-to-Fuel process includes steam hydrogasification coupled with methane reformation to gasify wet carbonaceous waste streams to produce a synthetic gas (syngas) product that can be converted into clean transportation fuel via Fischer-Tropsch processes. The steam hydrogasification technology will be assessed for utilizing co-mingled carbonaceous waste streams from the UCR campus (food, paper, landscaping, and trash) to produce sustainable fuels. It will be demonstrated that the process can handle the acute and seasonal variations of these streams. The production cost of the fuel must be so that the desired product can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels economically and also meet the stringent national fuel standards. Various surrogate samples will be gasified using the steam hydrogasification reactors at UCR’s College of Engineering- Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) facilities. The syngas product will be analyzed and assessed for variance among the surrogate samples. This data will be used to conduct a life-cycle analysis on the entire process (waste in – fuel out) using simulation software.

Expected Results:

We expect to find that the application of our technology can significantly benefit the school, environmentally and economically. Our lab-scale demonstration results would lead to larger demonstration scale investigations and ultimately implementation on campus showcasing the possibility of moving towards zero-waste campuses.

Supplemental Keywords:

Renewable Energy, Synthetic fuels, Biodiesel;

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report