New dairy renewable natural gas facility expected to become largest in the US

Calgren Dairy Fuels and Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) have announced the completion of Calgren’s dairy renewable natural gas facility.

The project, located in Pixley in the state’s Central Valley, is the first of its kind in California and is predicted to be the largest dairy biogas operation in the US within the next six months.

Calgren collects cow manure from four local dairy farms at the plant and processes it through an anaerobic digester, which accelerates the natural decomposition process. Cow manure is a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions, but this new facility captures the methane (biogas) and converts it to create renewable vehicle fuels.

The high-quality renewable natural gas (RNG) produced at the plant is injected into the SoCalGas pipeline system, allowing Calgren to supply RNG to existing compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling facilities. This has the potential to be delivered to customers to fuel low-emissions buses and trucks, as well as generating clean electricity and heating homes and businesses.

Calgren plans to partner with eight additional dairy farms by the end of 2019, making it the largest dairy biogas project in the US. “As part of our vision to be the cleanest natural gas company in North America, we have committed to replacing 20% of natural gas we deliver today with renewable natural gas, primarily from organic sources, by 2030,” said 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.”

Over the last five years, the use of RNG as a transportation fuel has increased by 577%, helping to displace more than seven million tonnes of carbon dioxide – equal to the total energy used by more than 860,000 homes for an entire year.

Walt Dwelle, principal owner of Calgren Renewable Fuels, said: “This facility alone will eventually capture methane produced from the manure of more than 75,000 cows, preventing about 130,000 tonnes 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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