c-tedd@uta.edu +1 817 272 5138

Project Details

Author(s) Melanie Sattler, University of Texas at Arlington
Co-Author(s) Kate Hyun, University of Texas at Arlington; Arpita Bhatt, University of Texas at Arlington; Victoria Chen, University of Texas at Arlington; Caroline Krejci, University of Texas at Arlington; Ardeshir Anjomani, University of Texas at Arlington;
CTEDD Funding Year 2019 General RFP
Project Status In Progress
UTC Funding $122,750.60
End Date June 16, 2020


As cities strive for more sustainable transportation systems, many are considering renewable fuels for fleets. Biogas has several advantages as an alternative fuel. Composed primarily of methane, it can be cleaned for use in natural gas vehicles, or burned in a turbine/engine to generate electricity for electric vehicles. Biogas can reduce air pollutant emissions from fleet vehicles; in addition, if wastes are used to produce the biogas in digesters, the problem of urban wastes is reduced.
Many cities already have anaerobic digesters that convert sewage sludge at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to biogas. Because of its abundance in landfilled waste (22%), food waste is of current critical concern to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Yard (flora) waste comprises an additional 7.8% of waste going to landfills. Both food and yard waste could be used to boost biogas production in WWTP digesters. If a city/region is considering enhancing existing WWTP infrastructure to accommodate food/yard waste, several critical questions arise:
1. Which existing digesters are the best candidates to produce vehicle fuel from food/yard waste?
2. How much fuel will be produced?
3. What will be the payback time for capital investments?
The overall project goal is to facilitate food/yard waste conversion to vehicle fuel, and help cities/regions answer the questions above, via development of the “Food/Flora Waste to Fleet Fuel” (F4) Framework. The F4 Framework will include: 1) Tools for input data collection, 2) Cost Optimization Model, 3) Food/Flora-Waste-to Fleet Fuel Model, 4) Food/Flora Waste Separation Policy Survey and City Guidebook. To select optimal WWTP digesters for converting food/yard waste to fuel, the Cost Optimization Model will balance trade-offs between food/yard waste transportation costs and capital costs for expanding digesters, cleaning gas/generating electricity, and installing refueling stations. The Food/Flora -Waste-to-Fleet Fuel Model will estimate fuel produced and emission benefits. The F4 Framework will be used to conduct an example feasibility study for the City of Dallas.