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Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
The last days of budget season in Albany are often hectic, with many policies getting added or dropped, and this year’s negotiations were no exception. As details emerged into the weekend and final votes were taken on Sunday, it became clear legislators had made multiple significant changes to environmental policy. Some attribute this to the fact that the New York Senate is now controlled by Democrats for the first time in years. While the plastic bag ban has been getting most of the attention, the organics mandate is arguably an even bigger change. Once enacted, New York will become the sixth state with some version of an organics diversion mandate – following California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Gov. Tom Wolf, D-Pa., has announced the approval of 11 projects through the Commonwealth Financing Authority to assist in the development of clean and renewable energy projects across Pennsylvania. Among the projects are a compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling station and a biogas purification facility. In Philadelphia County, AAA Club Alliance Inc. was approved for a $74,993 grant for the purchase and installation of a CNG fueling station at its Brewster Ave. fleet management facility. The station, which will have a daily capacity of 450 gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE), and will enable AAA to expand its CNG fleet over the next 14 years. The total project cost is $299,975.
Today, U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes announced up to $59 million for new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research. Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this funding opportunity seeks projects to address priorities in advanced batteries and electric drive systems, energy efficient mobility systems, materials for more efficient powertrains, co-optimized advanced engine and fuel technologies, and alternative fuels and new mobility options. “Every day, American consumers and businesses rely on transportation for jobs, schools, and commerce,” said Under Secretary Menezes.
Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, recently launched a biogas project in Yakima County, Washington, that will convert 150,000 gallons per day of dairy waste from up to 7,000 cows into 160,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas (RNG) – the equivalent of 1.4 million gallons of gasoline – and other products each year. Collaborating as Augean Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), Brightmark Energy, Promus Energy, and DeRuyter Dairies developed the project. Brightmark Energy will manage the joint venture and Promus Energy, the original developer, will serve as the project manager. A key component of the Augean project is the construction of new pipeline infrastructure by Yakima County and Augean that sets the table for RNG projects for other dairies in the area.
The trade body for the UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has called on the government to introduce a bespoke low-carbon Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme to support small-scale renewable technologies on the day the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) has ended. AD plants generate renewable electricity, heat, and natural fertiliser by treating organic wastes and energy crops. They also offer a range of other benefits including greenhouse gas mitigation from avoided waste emissions, income diversification for farmers, and energy and food security. The UK’s AD industry currently has capacity to power 1.2 million households, offering flexible, baseload power, but has the potential to generate 75 terrawatt hours of energy with the right support. Ofgem’s latest quarterly report, published in December, showed that the FIT had supported 290 megawatts of AD capacity.
The acquisition expands Fortistar’s strategy to produce, distribute and supply RNG as a transportation fuel across the U.S. Fortistar LLC, in partnership with Ares Capital Corporation, has acquired two landfill renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities, Greentree Landfill Gas and Imperial Landfill Gas, from EDF Renewables North America. Located in Western Pennsylvania, the two facilities have the capacity to produce 1.5 million dekatherms of RNG per year—enough to power 1,117 natural gas trucks and displace 12 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of diesel fuel. Fueling trucks with Fortistar’s RNG will reduce 107,485 metric tons of CO2 per year—equivalent to planting more than 2.7 million trees each year, according to Fortistar.
DTE Energy today announced a bold new goal to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2040 – accelerating by a full decade the carbon reduction commitment it made to Michigan residents and businesses just two years ago. In the company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) being submitted to the Michigan Public Service Commission on Friday, DTE outlines the steps it will take over the next five years, and beyond, to transform to a cleaner generation mix – adding more renewables, increasing energy efficiency for its customers above state requirements and retiring coal plants sooner than previously announced. DTE also announced it will reduce carbon emissions at least 50 percent by 2030, surpassing its previous carbon reduction commitment of 45 percent by that timeframe.
Trillium, one of the nation’s leading providers of alternative fuels systems and renewable fuels and member of the Love’s Family of Companies, today announced its recently awarded partnerships with Oklahoma City EMBARK and Tulsa Transit, Oklahoma’s largest urban transit systems. The partnerships reiterate Trillium’s dedication to providing reliable and clean fueling solutions to fleets across the country. “Oklahoma is a state rooted in the pioneering spirit, and I am thrilled to see multiple communities renewing their commitment to providing clean and reliable fueling solutions through Trillium,” said Bill Cashmareck, managing director of Trillium. “These new partnerships will help improve Oklahoma’s air quality, ease traffic congestion and promote the benefits of using public transportation in a rapidly growing state.”
A new way of tracking how sewage sludge flows during thermal treatment could help engineers design better wastewater treatment plants and boost production of biogas. Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, demonstrated how the flow behaviour of sludge can be used as a tool to gauge how quickly organic matter is dissolving at high temperatures, paving the way for online monitoring of process performance. Traditional methods of assessing the performance of thermal treatment require time-consuming sampling and chemical analysis. But rheology calculations – which measure and detail how liquids flow – can be done online in real time.
The USDA announced the results of its 2017 Census of Agriculture on April 11. The report includes millions of new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including data on on-farm biogas operations. According to the census, 686 methane digesters were operational on U.S. farms in 2017, up from 537 in 2012. The census defines methane digesters as a device that captures biogas resulting from the decomposition of manure, processing by-products, and other materials. Methane digesters were reported only if in production and used in 2017.