Milk swirl.
July 30, 2019

California Companies Complete Dairy Renewable Natural Gas Facility

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Calgren Dairy Fuels announced this week they have completed a dairy renewable gas facility, which takes methane from dairy manure and converts it into pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG).

This first phase of the project collects methane from four large dairy farms and converts it into pipeline quality, renewable vehicle fuel. Ultimately, the RNG will be used to fuel ultra-low emissions trucks and buses, generate clean electricity, and heat homes and business.

Plans are to add another eight dairy farms to the system this year, making it the largest dairy biogas project in the country.

“This facility alone will eventually capture methane produced from the manure of more than 75,000 cows, preventing about 130,000 tons of greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 passenger cars off the road for a year,” says Walt Dwelle, principal owner of Galgren Renewable Fuels.

For its part, SoCalGas is hoping to make the RNG from the project available as a fuel for the homes of the company’s 21 million customers across southern California. SoCalGas is pursuing regulatory authority to implement a broad RNG procurements program. Its goal is to replace five percent of its natural gas supply with RNG by 2022.

The dairy digesters in the Calgren project are partly funded by California’s Dairy Digester Research and Development Program. A 2016 California law requires that 40% of methane from state dairies be captured, with provisions to deliver that energy to various customers. There are currently 30 dairy farms with operational RNG projects with 50 more in various stages of development.