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There’s power in your poop and UC Riverside researchers want to find ways to use it

By in Press Enterprise on May 19, 2017

By Mark Muckenfuss

Poop isn’t typically green, but it can help in turning the planet that way.

This, of course, is no secret to composters, but poop might not be the first you think of when it comes to filling the tank of your car. Then again, you’re filling up with gas, and the two are inextricably linked.

However, you are probably not using renewable gas. That term may sound like an oxymoron — how do you renew something you’ve burned? — but it refers to producing natural gas using renewable sources. One of the primary sources, is poop.

On Wednesday, May 17, UC Riverside announced the establishment of the first academic center in the country dedicated to studying the production of natural gas produced from sustainable sources, such as dairy farms and waste treatment plants.

Professor Arun Raju, director of the Center for Renewable Natural Gas.

And, just like gas itself isn’t really renewable, the Center for Renewable Natural Gas, is not exactly a center.

The organization has funding for its research — SoCal Gas, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation contributed a total of $225 million for an initial project — But there are no funds for a any kind of physical presence or additional personnel. The center’s members work at UCR’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology, known as CE-CERT, and the center will have a name but no offices of its own.

Director Arun Raju said the work being done by the center will help California in meeting its goals of reduced emissions of greenhouse gases by bringing greater focus to the research.

“The center is just an initiative to consolidate these efforts,” Raju said. “There is going to be a more coordinated effort to address technological limitations and the widespread use of RNG.”

Natural gas, or methane, is […]    

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