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Brightmark Energy to build its first dairy RNG project in South Dakota

In the United States (US), San Francisco-based waste and energy developer Brightmark Energy, LLC (Brightmark) has announced that it has signed a manure supply agreement with two South Dakota dairy companies, Boadwine Farms, Inc. and Moody County Dairy LP, to capture methane produced by nearly 12 000 dairy cows and heifers and convert it into renewable natural gas (RNG). Brightmark is developing the project, and the company will also own and operate it upon completion.

Brightmark Energy has signed a manure supply agreement with two South Dakota dairy companies, Boadwine Farms, Inc. and Moody County Dairy LP and will build and operate three anaerobic digesters that will convert manure into biogas that will be upgraded into renewable natural gas (RNG) and injected in the interstate pipeline (photo courtesy Boadwine Farms).

Known as the Athena renewable natural gas (RNG) project, it will include the construction of new anaerobic digesters on three Minnehaha County farms: Boadwine Farms, Pioneer Dairy, and Moody Dairy. The 11 710 cows that live on these farms produce a total of 55.6 million (US) gallons (≈ 210.4 million litres) of manure each year.

After the project is complete, the biogas generated by this manure will be captured, cleaned, and upgraded into biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG), which can be used for transportation, cooking, or electricity. The gas will be injected into the local interstate pipeline system for use statewide.

First RNG project for Brightmark in South Dakota

The project is anticipated to produce 217 000 MMBtu (≈ 63.6 GWh) of RNG annually. Brightmark is developing the project, and will also own and operate it upon completion.

Brightmark is pleased to launch our first project in South Dakota. Our team specializes in deploying energy technologies that turn waste into productive, sustainable energy solutions, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to bring anaerobic digestion to the state, said Bob Powell, CEO of Brightmark Energy.

Dairy-derived RNG packs major benefits for the climate. It is the lowest carbon intensity transportation fuel available because it greatly reduces the emission of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG), from lagoon-stored manure and wastewater. The Athena project is anticipated to prevent 64 567 tonnes of GHG emissions annually.

As dairy farmers, we can be part of the solution in helping the environment. The digester projects are a win-win because we have the ability to further process the manure while reducing greenhouse gases. Agriculture continually evolves. Our improvements in sustainability in the last generation are just short of incredible. Unfortunately, we don’t often tell our story. We are looking forward to partnering with Brightmark to bring these next-generation projects to South Dakota, said Lynn Boadwine, Owner of Boadwine Dairy, Inc.

This is the latest in a series of biogas projects launched by Brightmark in the past two years. The company is developing similar biogas projects nationwide and has also active projects in South Carolina (SC), Washington (WA), Wisconsin (WI), Florida (FL), and New York (NY).

South Dakota dairy farmers have a history of applying innovative ideas on their farms. Digesters offer farmers an additional method of utilizing resources in a sustainable manner. In addition, these projects benefit communities with economic contributions in our rural areas, said Tom Peterson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Dairy Producers.

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