Biodigester Bringing Sustainability Full Circle

Taylor Hillman Cattle, Dairy & Livestock, Energy, Environment, General, Technology, Water

Pixley digester best
A new project in Tulare County is joining together leading industries and making them more green. Regenis has built a biodigester at the Calgren ethanol plant in Pixley. Regenis Co-Partner Todd Kunzman says the technology is nothing new; however, using it in this way is.

Part 1; Turning Manure Into Electricity

Digesters are fairly simple. Manure is taken from a dairy and put into an enclosed, partially underground tank that pulls valuable gas from the contents. Kunzman says that biogas is then piped to the Calgren ethanol facility that uses the gas to run a generator of sorts and produce electricity.

The manure is piped underground from Four J Farms up the street from the Calgren facility. That piping system allows there to be no moving parts in the tank, and an additional rolling motion is created by recycling some of the gas they are producing. Kunzman says this project could become a common addition for ethanol plants with the continued push to become less petroleum dependent. The Calgren facility has reduced its natural gas consumption by 6 percent and is now the lowest carbon ethanol currently produced in California at industrial scale.


Pixley engine room
Part 2; Digester Producing More Than Gas

In a nutshell, the new biodigester built at the Calgren ethenal facility in Pixley is turning manure into a burnable gas. However, the sustainability and recycling aspect of the system doesn’t end there. Kunzman says the digester captures expelled heat from Calgren to provide the heat it needs to keep the tank at 101 degrees and requires little else to run the system.

The farm that produces the manure also gets a few other benefits besides manure removal. The substance left over from the process is ideal for cow bedding and the second is something that is invaluable here in California, water. Kunzman says it’s truly a circle of recycling.


Todd ag interview
Part 3; Biodigester Future Benefits for California

These biodigesters support sustainability no matter where they’re built. Regenis Public Relations Specialist Michael Grossman says the system is especially beneficial to California as it deals with drought conditions and new nitrogen management reporting.

Grossman says Regenis has looked even further into the benefits and uses of the leftover material. Grossman says that is a focus of the company, to not only be a green and sustainable process, but to help other companies be sustainable as well.