US-headed advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals company Aemetis Inc., has announced that the California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded the company’s subsidiary, Aemetis Biogas LLC, a US$4.1 million grant under the CEC’s Low Carbon Fuel Production Program to construct a biogas upgrading facility.
The biogas upgrading facility will convert dairy biogas to renewable natural gas (RNG) as a final processing step after biogas is delivered via pipeline from anaerobic digesters that Aemetis Biogas is building at dairies throughout Stanislaus and Merced Counties. Aemetis Biogas is currently developing more than a dozen anaerobic digesters at local dairies, with plans for future expansion to several dozen dairies.
The Aemetis Central Dairy Digester and Pipeline Project is designed to capture methane gas currently emitted from dairy manure lagoons, pre-treat the biogas at each dairy to remove harmful components, then transport the methane via pipeline from each dairy to a biogas upgrading facility at the Aemetis Keyes ethanol plant.
Displace fossil gas
After the biogas is upgraded to utility pipeline-quality RNG, the RNG will be utilized at the Keyes ethanol plant to replace carbon-intensive petroleum natural gas currently used to generate steam and power at the plant or will be injected into PG&E’s gas pipeline to be utilized as a transportation fuel by trucking companies and bus fleets.
Due to the volume of truck traffic at the Keyes plant for biofuel and dairy feed deliveries, Aemetis also expects to supply local trucking fleets through an onsite renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) dispenser.
Aemetis expects to complete construction and begin operation of its first two dairy digesters, the onsite dairy biogas pre-treatment units, a 4-mile Aemetis pipeline and a new biogas boiler at the Keyes plant in Q2 2020.
Aemetis plans to utilize the CEC grant to accelerate the construction of the biogas upgrading facility, which is the final step to bringing clean, renewable natural gas to the marketplace. This biogas to RNG project adds revenues to dairies while also avoiding penalties from methane emissions that may otherwise become a new cost burden on dairy owners. We appreciate the CEC’s strong support for the Aemetis Central Dairy Digester and Pipeline Project, which we believe will have a direct positive impact on the economic and environmental health of California’s Central Valley, said Eric McAfee, Chairman, and CEO of Aemetis, Inc.
With this latest grant, Aemetis has been awarded a total of approximately US$18 million of CEC grants this month to support the company’s Aemetis Central Dairy Digester and Pipeline Project, and for carbon-reducing energy efficiency upgrades to the Keyes Plant.