By Science Direct.
Challenges and opportunities towards energy-neutral WWTPs.
Recently the United States Environmental Protection Agency qualified biogas from landfills and anaerobic digesters as a cellulosic transportation biofuel under the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). Biogas is a renewable fuel that can generate Renewable Identification Number credits for the producer. The wastewater industry may not be able to keep pace with this opportunity. Less than 10% of WWTPs in the US have currently produced biogas for beneficial use. Supporting growth of the biogas industry requires implementation of new practices and policies. In this review, the barriers, gaps, and challenges in deploying biogas production technology are identified. Issues are classified as economic, technical, social or regulatory issues. Some of the critical challenges to the economics of digester operations are the slow rate of biogas generation, the low energy content of the biogas, and the costs to upgrade the biogas.