On December 3, 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced funding for six pilot projects in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys to demonstrate the efficient production of biomethane from dairy digesters and injection into natural gas pipelines. DVO, Inc., together with JG Weststeyn Dairy, a dairy farm located in Willows, California, was one of the selected projects.
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The manure from JG Weststeyn Dairy’s 2 200 milking cows and support stock will be anaerobically digested in a patented DVO digester. Biomethane generated by the digester will be injected into PG&E’s natural gas transmission system. This biomethane (also known as Renewable Natural Gas – RNG) will subsequently be used as vehicle fuel in California, replacing approximately 1.25 million (US) gallons (≈ 4.73 million litres) per annum of fossil fuels.
JG Weststeyn Dairy is always looking for progressive ways to improve our farm and be a positive member of our community. This project accomplishes both those goals – demonstrating improvements in sustainability while being a valuable asset to our local community, state, and the dairy industry, said Jake Weststeyn, owner.
Address methane emissions
The production of biomethane from organic waste products, including animal manure, eliminates significant methane emissions to the atmosphere. The CPUC created the dairy biomethane pilot program as part of the state’s strategy to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).
Legislation adopted in 2016 requires the state to reduce methane emissions from the dairy and other livestock sectors by 40 percent by 2030. Emissions from dairy manure account for approximately 25 percent of the State’s overall methane emissions. The interagency committee that selected the projects consisted of representatives from the CPUC, CARB, and CDFA.
The pilots chosen will provide us with valuable information about the interconnection process and hopefully facilitate other biomethane projects, said Clifford Rechtschaffen, CPUC Commissioner.
DVO has proven experience with such RNG projects, having designed the anaerobic digesters that supply 100 percent of the biogas for the two largest dairy biogas-to-pipeline projects in the country.
The project will receive approximately US$7.2 million of funding for infrastructure investments, along with additional monies over the next 20 years for operational expenses. Construction of the digester and injection system is scheduled to begin in 2019, with the injection of biomethane commencing in mid-2020.
DVO and the Weststeyns are pleased to be able to participate in this pilot as it will showcase the year-round reliability and high performance of the DVO system while providing important insights and data that will help the California biomethane industry move forward in the best possible manner, said Steve Dvorak, President of DVO.