BAKERSFIELD, Calif.--()--The Kern County Board of Supervisors has approved construction of a biogas distribution network that will for the first time produce renewable natural gas from multiple dairy farms to generate power for utility customers, BioEnergy Solutions announced.
“California’s dairy community is poised to pioneer the large-scale production of this cleaner, greener form of energy and create a model for agricultural and energy producers nationwide.”
The distribution network, the first of its kind to be approved by a government authority in the U.S., will produce biogas from cow manure on as many as nine dairies in eastern Kern County, upgrade it to utility standards and deliver it into a nearby Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) pipeline.
Construction will begin in early 2009.
“California is the leading dairy producer in the U.S. and its dairies, with their abundant supplies of cow manure, have great potential for the production of renewable natural gas,” said David Albers, president of BioEnergy Solutions and a third-generation dairyman. “California’s dairy community is poised to pioneer the large-scale production of this cleaner, greener form of energy and create a model for agricultural and energy producers nationwide.”
Three of the nine farms have agreed to supply biogas to the network: C&R Vanderham Dairy, Inc., Whiteside Dairy and Vermeer and Goedhart Dairy. Their combined herd of 6,500 milk cows is expected to produce 615,000 cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to generate power for 3,000 California homes.
BioEnergy Solutions, which builds and operates biogas pipeline facilities in California, will construct an underground pipeline linking the dairies which are located south of Lerdo Highway between the City of Shafter and Interstate 5. Biogas from the farms will be transported through the pipeline to an upgrade facility located at the Vermeer and Goedhart Dairy on Magnolia Avenue in Shafter.
Manure from the dairies’ cows will be mixed with water and flushed into a large covered lagoon on each farm. As the manure breaks down naturally and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide, the gas will be captured and delivered through an underground pipeline to the purification facility to remove its corrosive materials and upgrade it to utility standards. The resulting renewable natural gas, more than 99 percent pure methane, will be pressurized and delivered into the PG&E pipeline for use in the production of energy for residential customers in northern and central California.
Known as the Shafter cluster, the nine-farm network could include as many as 26,700 milk cows, 17 percent of the dairy herd population in Kern County, and produce enough clean-burning natural gas to meet the energy needs of 12,000 California homes. The cluster could also reduce the equivalent of 220,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is the same as taking 38,500 cars off local roads.
BioEnergy Solutions’ first biogas project began production earlier this year at Vintage Dairy in western Fresno County. It is producing 175,000 cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to power 1,200 California homes. A neighboring farm, the Pier van der Hoek Dairy, will also supply biogas to the Vintage Dairy project to power an additional 1,300 homes.
BioEnergy Solutions offers a cost-free alternative to the capital costs farmers and other food processors face in coming years to meet new air quality requirements and greenhouse gas standards. The company designs, builds and maintains waste-to-gas systems on farms or at processing facilities then sells the renewable natural gas to power generators. The property owners also enjoy a new source of revenue, sharing in the sales of biogas and emission credits.
For more information about BioEnergy Solutions, please visit the company’s web site at www.allbioenergy.com.