Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco-based owner and operator of waste and energy projects, recently launched a biogas project in Yakima County, Wash.
The project is expected to convert 150,000 gallons per day of dairy waste from up to 7,000 cows into 160,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas (RNG) – the equivalent of 1.4 million gallons of gasoline – and other products each year.
Brightmark Energy, Promus Energy and DeRuyter Dairies developed the project through an Augean RNG joint venture. Brightmark Energy will manage the joint venture, and Promus Energy – the original developer – will serve as the project manager.
A key component of the Augean project is the construction of new pipeline infrastructure by Yakima County and Augean, setting the table for RNG projects for other dairies in the area.
The Augean project will collect biogas from DeRuyter’s anaerobic digester, fueled exclusively by manure. The raw biogas will be cleaned, upgraded and compressed into pipeline-quality RNG, which will be transported through the new pipeline system and injected into the nearby Williams NW regional gas transmission line for sale as vehicle fuel. In addition to RNG, other renewable products generated by Augean’s anaerobic digestion process include biofertilizer, digested dairy fiber for use as cow bedding or as a peat moss substitute, and reclaimed irrigation water.
Brightmark’s investment in the Augean project enables DeRuyter to upgrade its 12-year-old manure collection system and digester to increase its capacity and conserve water. DeRuyter anticipates that the project will save the dairies more than a half a million dollars each year in operating and environmental compliance costs.
“On day one after the digester upgrades were complete, we were out there emptying manure ponds to turn that waste back into useful products and to recycle nutrients,” says Dan DeRuyter, co-owner of DeRuyter Dairies. “We’re glad for the opportunity to lead the way for others in the industry in this arena.”
The project is supported by a $1.4 million grant from Yakima County and a $500,000 Rural Energy for American Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mike Leita, chair of the Yakima County board of commissioners, says, “After years of working with Promus and the dairies, Yakima County is pleased to provide a matching grant for the pipeline system, which sets the stage for dairy digester projects that convert waste into value-added renewable products that improve environmental, economic and community health.”
Brightmark is currently developing similar biogas projects in New York, Wisconsin, Florida and Minnesota. The company is actively seeking feedstock suppliers with an interest in collaborating on waste-to-energy projects.