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Brightmark delivers first biogas shipment to Dane County RNG offloading station

Dane County landfill in Wisconsin, US, has received its first load of renewable natural gas (RNG) from a manure digester in the Yahara Lakes Watershed.

Brightmark (formerly Brightmark Energy) completed the construction of the multi-million-dollar project upgrading gas equipment at its digester north-west of Waunakee in the town of Vienna, working closely with Dane County. The firm has now delivered its first shipment of RNG to the Dane County injection station, located at the county landfill.

The biogas, converted from 90,000 gallons of manure per day from three local farms at Brightmark’s Demeter project, was trucked to the county’s offload station. The biogas will be injected through the county’s equipment into the interstate transmission pipeline so it can be used as renewable fuel, powering fleets of RNG vehicles across the US.

Joe Parisi, county executive, said: “Our project with Brightmark will help prevent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from entering the atmosphere and significantly reduce phosphorous runoff into our lakes.

“I am hopeful that revenue from the sales of digester RNG will spur the development of more digesters and increase our lake clean-up efforts.”

“This project demonstrates the power of a great partnership having a significant positive environmental impact,” said Brightmark CEO Bob Powell. “We are excited for this work to come to fruition as it will positively impact not only the climate but also the regional economy.”

Methane is 25 times more potent to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, according to Brightmark, and when used as a renewable vehicle fuel, every trailer that passes through Dane County’s offloading station will reduce GHG emissions equivalent to that of burning 24,000 pounds of coal. It is estimated that the project will deliver a trailer of gas to the landfill every 2-3 days.

The new digester project will produce enough fuel each to travel from San Francisco to New York and back over 200 times in a compressed natural gas vehicle.

The RNG offloading station was part of a larger project to process the country’s landfill biogas for pipeline injection. Traditionally, each digester biogas producer is required to make a physical connection to the pipeline, which can be very expensive. Since the county was already making that connection for the landfill biogas project, an offloading station was added for other biogas producers to use. The project reduces barriers for biogas producers to gain access to a pipeline, renewable energy markets, and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s and state-issued renewable fuel credits.

The county’s offloading project formed part of the 2018 budget and cost around $5.5 million for design, permitting, and installation. Users of the station will be charged a fee to pay back the costs of installation and fund operations. Price incentives are available for digesters in the Yahara Lakes Watershed who participate in advanced phosphorous removal to help further incentivise cleaning up the lakes.