A new dairy biogas facility in Pixley is the first of its kind in California and is expected to become the largest dairy biogas operation in the country by the end of the year. Calgren Dairy Fuels recently completed the renewable natural gas facility which will collect manure from four local dairy farms and process it using an anaerobic digestor.
“Calgren is proud to be the first facility in California to operate a dairy digester pipeline cluster and to work with both the dairies and SoCalGas to mitigate emissions,” principal owner of Calgren Renewable Fuels, Walt Dwelle said in a statement. “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.”
The methane collected from the dairies will then be converted into renewable natural gas (RNG) to be used by Southern California Gas Company. The RNG will ultimately be used to generate clean energy and fuel low emission vehicles. Eight additional dairy farms are expected to join in the project by the end of the year, adding to the production of RNG.
According to figures from Dairy Cares, California has about 30 methane digesters currently in operation and another 50 projects that are in the development process. Over the next 20 years, digestors are projected to reduce more than 50 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. A California law passed in 2016 requires that methane emissions levels from livestock be reduced by 40 percent from 2013 levels by 2030. The dairy digesters that are part of the Calgren project, as well many other similar developments are partially being funded through California’s Dairy Digester Research and Development Program.