New Dairy Biogas Facility Completed in California’s Central Valley

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This week, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) joined Calgren Dairy Fuels, along with state and local elected officials, to announce the completion of Calgren’s dairy renewable natural gas (RNG) facility in California’s Central Valley.

At the new facility, located in the community of Pixley, Calgren collects cow manure from four local dairy farms and processes it in an anerobic digestor that accelerates the natural decomposition process. Methane emissions (biogas) from that process are captured and converted to make renewable vehicle fuels. The pipeline-quality renewable natural gas (RNG) is injected into the SoCalGas pipeline system, which allows Calgren to supply RNG to existing compressed natural gas refueling facilities. Ultimately, this has the potential to be delivered to customers to fuel trucks and buses, generate clean electricity, and heat homes and businesses.

Calgren plans to partner with eight additional dairy farms by the end of 2019, which will make the facility the largest dairy biogas project in the nation, according to Calgren and SoCalGas. At a ceremony marking the completion of the project, SoCalGas presented Calgren with a $5 million incentive check authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission to support the development of renewable energy projects.

“As part of our vision to be the cleanest natural gas company in North America, we have committed to replacing 20 percent of the natural gas we deliver today with renewable natural gas, primarily from organic sources, by 2030,” says Jeff Walker, vice president of customer solutions at SoCalGas. “Renewable natural gas is a ready, reliable and realistic way to reduce GHG emissions and pollution from heavy-duty transportation and buildings and will help ensure that families and businesses have an affordable option for heating and cooking as California transitions to a clean energy future.”

“Calgren is proud to be the first facility in California to operate a dairy digester pipeline cluster and to work with both the dairies and SoCalGas to mitigate emissions,” notes Walt Dwelle, principal owner of Calgren Renewable Fuels. “This facility alone will eventually capture methane produced from the manure of more than 75,000 cows, preventing about 130,000 tons of greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 passenger cars off the road for a year.”

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Steve Lund

There was an article in the Kansas City Star this morning about the waste disposal problems from a feed lot owned by Valley Oaks Steak Co. just east of Kansas City near Powell Gardens. They are proposing 6900 head of cattle from their present 1000 and are being sued by neighbors due to the waste problem. The article states that “300 tons of animal waste would be blended with wood chips and stored in a warehouse to be processed into marketable fertilizer–nearly 110,000 tons per year.” No mention anywhere in the article about anaerobic digestion, capturing of biogas, and production… Read more »