Aemetis receives approval for 32-mile biogas pipeline extension

Aemetis has received approval for the construction of a 32-mile extension to its existing four-mile private pipeline in California that was completed in 2020.

The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors accepted and approved the Aemetis Biogas Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration for the construction by a unanimous vote.

The pipeline is designed to carry biogas from dairies as part of the Aemetis Central Dairy Digester Project, which is planned to span across the Stanislaus and Merced counties in central California. Once upgraded to renewable natural gas (RNG), it will be used to fuel trucks, be injected into the PG&E utility pipeline, or be used as process energy to displace carbon-intensive petroleum natural gas.

The approval will enable the project to meet the permitting requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before construction, and confirms that mitigation measures in the proposed project will avoid or mitigate any environmental impacts.

Eric McAffee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said: “Receiving CEQA approval for our pipeline project is a significant milestone for the Aemetis Biogas RNG project and puts us on a solid path to begin construction of the 32-mile pipeline extension that will convey biogas from approximately 30 dairy digesters to our centralised gas cleanup unit, co-located at the Aemetis Advanced Fuels Keyes ethanol plant.

“After the dairy biogas is upgraded to RNG by the gas cleanup unit at the Keyes plant, we expect to have multiple alternatives to generate revenues from the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credits.

“We plan on using the RNG to fuel trucks by dispensing RNG at the R-CNG fuelling station we are building at the Keyes plant, inject the RNG into the PG&E utility pipeline using an interconnection unit that is scheduled for completion in Q3, or utilise the RNG as process energy to displace carbon-intensive petroleum natural gas at the Keyes biorefinery.

“We believe this flexible go-to-market approach ensures our ability to capture the maximum value for LCFS and RFS credits and gives us a unique advantage as a dairy RNG producer in California.”

The Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy Digester Project is a collection of dairy lagoon anaerobic digesters that are being built, owned, and operated by Aemetis Biogas, utilising animal waste to generate RNG.

Approximately 25% of the methane emissions in California are emitted from dairy waste lagoons, and California Senate Bill 1383 provides grant funding and mandates for the capture of methane by dairies.

In Q4 2020, Aemetis Biogas began operating the first two digesters and the initial four-mile pipeline in the RNG project. The firm plans to begin construction of the next five dairy digesters and the additional 32 miles of pipeline in the second quarter of this year, with five more set to begin construction in Q3, and five more digesters beginning in Q1 2022, for a planned total of 17 dairy digesters and a 36-mile pipeline in operation by Q2 2022.

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