New Technology Helps Businesses Meet Strict Air Quality Regulations Easily and Efficiently

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Businesses in the South Coast Air Basin who operate stationary natural gas engines for heat and power may soon have in their toolbox new technology that will make it easier and more efficient to monitor and auto-correct air emissions in order to meet strict air quality regulations.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced the successful field trial of ultra low-emission control technology for gas engines at Fontana Wholesale Lumber in Fontana, Calif. The six-month demonstration project was funded in part by the California Energy Commission and SoCalGas' research and development group. Fontana Wholesale Lumber produces nearly 100 percent of its electricity on site and uses waste heat from a combined heat and power natural gas engine to operate kilns used to treat lumber.  

"Natural gas is an environmentally clean, abundant and domestically produced fuel. As such, it plays a vital role in helping businesses meet stringent air quality regulations," said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions at SoCalGas. "This breakthrough low-emission control technology has strategic importance in a region where the latest emissions requirements have been lowered to unprecedented levels."

Up until now, it has been difficult for a stationary gas engine to maintain long-term compliance with stringent permit limits without operator assistance. The advanced system, developed by Continental Controls Corp. of San Diego, relies on fast-responding hardware and software that provide excellent control and mixing of fuel and air for optimum combustion and use of advanced air emissions sensors for engine feedback control. The system is a retrofit conversion kit for rich-burn engines.

SoCalGas' research, demonstration and development efforts are focused on advancing technologies to meet air quality regulatory requirements in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which now require new natural gas engines used in distributed generation to meet 2 parts per million (ppm) of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, 8 ppm of carbon monoxide, or CO, and 7 ppm of volatile organic compounds, or VOC.

"This project is an excellent example of how agencies are working together to develop and implement innovative solutions that help our region achieve a balance between generating a stronger economy and achieving Southern California's clean air mandates," said San Bernardino County Chair and Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who represents the County on the AQMD Governing Board.  "I applaud SoCalGas for helping our local businesses, like Fontana Wholesale Lumber, meet our region's air quality requirements. A multifaceted approach such as this shows how essential collaboration is to getting things done for everyone's benefit."

About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).


SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

For further information: Denise King of Southern California Gas Co., +1-877-643-2331