The city of Grand Junction, CO, has chosen to increase its storage capacity of bio compressed natural gas (CNG), which is produced at the city’s Persigo Water Treatment Plant. 

This project follows a program enacted five years ago to capture methane produced during wastewater treatment.  The CNG is used to fuel city vehicles. 

Currently, over 75% of the gas is able to be used, but to utilize 100%, additional storage and automation of fueling station systems is needed, according to Grand Junction Utilities Director Randi Kim.

“We built the facility to clean the gas and then pipe it to our fleet fueling station at our maintenance shop,” Kim said. “Over the course of those five years it has been extremely successful. We now are able to fuel up to 70 vehicles, which include our maintenance vehicles as well as our Grand Valley Transit vehicles.”

Kim said the Colorado Department of Local Affairs awarded the city a grant to cover half of the $1 million project cost. The project would help the city cover the cost of the fuel it purchases for fleet vehicles. Fleet demand for natural gas is double what is produced at the treatment plant. 

“We proposed a project to add additional storage and to automate some of the features that allow us to manage that gas between the time it’s captured and the time that the vehicles are able to be fueled,” Kim said.

While the methane produced is now turned into a resource for the city, it originally was vented into the atmosphere. Kim noted that when the program started in 2015 it was the first of its kind.