Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
Renewable natural gas is set to have an increasingly large part in Oregon’s energy supply after Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 98 on Wednesday. This bill sets goals to add as much as 30% renewable natural gas into Oregon’s pipeline system by 2050. Renewable natural gas is produced from materials like food, agriculture and forestry waste, wastewater, or landfills. “Oregon has long been a place for innovation in environmental protection, and this legislation continues that tradition,” said Governor Brown.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing nearly $3.5 million in projects to advance medium- and heavy-duty natural gas vehicle (NGV) technologies. The announcement also includes $10.2 million in advanced methane storage, as well as waste-to-energy projects, which should benefit the NGV market, points out NGVAmerica. The investments are part of $50 million for research of technologies for trucks, off-road vehicles and the fuels that power them. “These crucial investments made by the DOE publicly affirm the federal government’s belief that natural gas vehicles are an important part of our nation’s transportation mix yesterday, today and well into the future,” says NGVAmerica’s president, Dan Gage.
Energy giant Energia Group – formerly known as Viridian – has launched plans to build a £40m anaerobic digestion plant in Belfast. The Power NI parent company, which rebranded from Viridian in May, has said there would be 200 construction jobs involved during the building of the renewable energy plant, while 20 people would be employed when it’s up and running. The business plans to use food and garden waste to fuel the digesters. The methane gas produced will then be used to generate electricity while any by-product is expected to be dried and used as fertiliser.
This spring, passengers on a Wednesday morning flight from Sydney to Adelaide, Australia, were greeted in the usual way — the flight attendant telling them to place larger bags in overhead compartments, smaller ones under their seats. But then the flight attendant tacked on an unexpected announcement: “At this time, we’d like to invite you to sit back and enjoy the world’s first zero-waste flight. We certainly hope you’re as proud as we are to be part of aviation history.” “That means that all paper, plastic, and aluminum and food items that we’ll be serving you today will be either composted, recycled, or reused,” the flight attendant said.”
A San Francisco-based waste and energy development company has announced that it has purchased a dairy biogas plant. Brightmark Energy purchased the anaerobic digester from Clean Fuel Partners near Madison, Wisconsin, which will convert 90,000 gallons of dairy waste per day from three local farms into biogas and other useful products. Clean Fuel Partners will continue to provide operations and maintenance support. Once the planned installation of gas upgrade equipment is completed, the project is expected to produce enough renewable natural gas to replace around 50,000 MMBtu of conventional natural gas each year.
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.
Amp Americas — a pioneer in the renewable transportation fuel industry — announced it has raised $75 million for new dairy RNG projects. This round of funding was led by EIV Capital with participation from existing Amp investors. Plus the company also announced the successful closing of new investment by an unnamed infrastructure investor in its three flagship Indiana dairy Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) projects — which the largest on-farm biogas to fuel operations in the country. The $75 million investment round is going to support Amp Americas’ continued investment in new dairy RNG projects. And the company is set to break ground on two additional midwestern dairy biogas projects later this year with operations to begin in the fall of 2020.
CenterPoint Energy’s proposed “renewable natural gas” pilot program was rejected Friday by state utility regulators amid concerns about its transparency, costs and out-of-state gas sourcing. CenterPoint 11 months ago unveiled the first-of-its-kind program, which would allow customers to effectively buy a portion of their natural gas from renewable sources such as landfills, sewage and livestock manure. Houston-based CenterPoint, Minnesota’s largest natural gas provider, had proposed the program to meet demand for renewable energy. Members of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) seemed to like the concept, but weren’t too hot on some of the details and voted 5-0 against it.
The North American renewable natural gas (RNG) industry has now topped 100 operational facilities, according to a findings from the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition). With the addition of three recent facilities, the 101 RNG production sites across the continent equate to nearly 150% growth over the past five years from the 41 projects built between 1982 and 2014, says the coalition. “Increased RNG development and deployment leads to greater adoption of the renewables we use to drive, and heat and power our homes and businesses,” comments Johannes Escudero, the RNG Coalition’s co-founder and CEO.
Renewable natural gas—methane collected from waste and manure—is a popular source of energy in Europe, but in the United States, it has yet to establish itself as a viable alternative to fossil fuel gas. Thanks to tax incentives and improving technologies, however, companies are making increasingly wider inroads into this segment of the renewable energy industry. Earlier this month, New York became the latest city to join a growing network of 530 fueling stations featuring renewable natural gas (RNG) that are run by a T. Boone Pickens company, Clean Energy Fuels.