SJI, REV LNG to build digester on CT’s largest dairy farm
The $12 million (€10.3 million) RNG facility is a ‘pivotal’ clean energy venture for SJI that will enable Elizabethtown natural gas customers to utilise renewable energy.
Expected to be operational by September next year, the anaerobic digester will capture raw methane and other greenhouse gases produced by manure. The project will also include constructing equipment to transform the biogas into commercial-grade, pipeline-quality RNG that will be integrated into the distribution system of SJI’s subsidiary, Elizabethtown Gas.
“SJI and its subsidiaries, Elizabethtown Gas and South Jersey Gas, are committed to supporting New Jersey’s vision of a clean energy future,” said Melissa Orsen, president of SJI Utilities and senior vice-president of SJI.
“By equipping our systems with RNG, this project will enable the over 300,000 customers who depend on Elizabethtown Gas for safe, reliable, affordable clean energy to join us in accomplishing this goal.”
The project will help to strengthen Oakridge Dairy’s sustainability efforts. The 3,000-acre family-owned farm is already a leader in energy-efficient farming, with a 752-panel solar array, 205 high-efficiency barn fans and more than 400 LED commercial lights. With the addition of the anaerobic digester, Oakridge Dairy will help produce close to 6,000 dekatherms of RNG annually – enough to offset the environmental impact of 867 passenger vehicle cars.
Seth Bahler, CEO of Oakridge Dairy, commented: “We have been trying to get a methane digester at our dairy for over five years. We are so excited it is finally coming to fruition.
“We as dairy farmers are the definition of sustainability: we grow crops, feed it to our cows, cows produce milk and manure, milk feeds the world with nutrients and manure feeds our future crop with nutrients. Adding a methane digester to this process is amazing because we can now capture the energy that’s left in the waste, turn it into a useable product and still have the nutrients for our crops.”