Bp and Aria Energy announced a project to capture methane from waste at three California dairy farms and process it into renewable natural gas (RNG), which will then be supplied as fuel for the U.S. transportation sector.
Agriculture accounts for nearly 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Capturing methane from farm waste can lower these emissions.
The process begins with anaerobic digestion, which involves microorganisms breaking down biodegradable material in a closed system called a digester. One of the end products is biogas, primarily methane, which can be processed into RNG and used to fuel vehicles.
Digesters will be installed at three dairy farms in California’s Central Valley, producing biogas from farm waste rather than allowing it to decompose and release methane into the atmosphere.
RNG-fueled vehicles are estimated to result in up to 95 percent lower emissions than those fueled by gasoline or diesel on a lifecycle basis, according to a US Department of Energy study.
The project, called RNG Moovers, combines the expertise of three companies:
- Aria Energy providing expertise in capturing biogas released from organic waste and refining it to remove contaminants and increasing its heat content, resulting in RNG.
- Aligned Digesters contributing proven experience constructing and operating digesters along with decades-long relationships with nationwide dairy owners.
- bp delivering the RNG to the transportation sector through a 20-year offtake agreement executed by its low carbon trading business.
“This is a great opportunity to expand our RNG business and help meet the growing demand for natural gas vehicle fuel,” said Sean Reavis, bp low carbon and trading senior vice president. “RNG can play an important role in decarbonizing the transportation sector and helping bp and the world get to net zero emissions.”
Richard DiGia, president and chief executive officer at Novi, Mich.-based Aria Energy, said that his company is committed to converting low carbon fuel sources into clean, useful energy for vehicles, homes and businesses.
“These projects would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of partners like bp,” said DiGia.
Aria Energy provides baseload renewable energy to utilities and other customers across the United States. Aria Energy owns and/or operates a diversified portfolio of 41 energy projects across 17 states.
Kevin Soares owns Soares Dairy Farms, located in California’s Central Valley and one of the project’s three dairy farms. “We really wanted to find a solution to help contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases on our dairy farm,” Soares explaine, “but our ownership group was skeptical about the long-term prognosis of the project. When these unique partners met with us, we were confident the right parties were involved.”
Aligned Digesters president Brent Verwey said that it’s an exciting time to have companies like bp and Aria committing to capturing emissions from dairy farms.
“It is strategic partners like these that will ensure each project’s long-term success,” Verwey said. “We look forward to working with dairy farmers and continuing to develop projects through RNG Moovers.”
Aligned Digesters is headquartered in Fresno, Calif., and is a fully licensed engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor with in-house engineering and design, construction management, operation and maintenance services.
Aligned currently owns and operates two digesters, including the largest of its kind in the state.