Brightmark Breaks Ground on Three Renewable Natural Gas Projects in Michigan

June 30th, 2021
Reading time: 5 minutes

Life cycle carbon-negative RNG projects to collectively generate 89,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas credits.


SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Brightmark, the global waste solutions provider, today broke ground on three renewable natural gas (RNG) projects in Michigan. The projects are owned by and will be operated through subsidiaries of Brightmark RNG Holdings LLC, a partnership with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Brightmark currently owns and operates 27 RNG projects in 8 states and will operate 6 RNG projects in Michigan upon completion of these 3 projects, which is expected in the first half of 2022. Of this portfolio of RNG projects, 17 are owned by subsidiaries of the joint venture with Chevron.

In addition to collectively generating on a life cycle basis approximately 89,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas credits in accordance with the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the products generated in part from renewable feedstocks by the projects include biofertilizer, digested dairy fiber for use as cow bedding or as a peat moss substitute, and irrigation water.

“Michigan has been a great partner and we are excited to further expand our RNG footprint here and break ground on these lifecycle carbon-negative projects,” said Bob Powell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Brightmark. “Transitioning to a lower-carbon energy economy creates significant opportunities for Michigan to put people to work in good-paying jobs in industries that are key to addressing climate change. We are proud to be a leader in supporting more sustainable farming practices, and these new RNG projects have the potential to deliver great financial and environmental benefits to the farmers and communities that we partner with.”

In October 2020, Brightmark LLC and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. originally announced the formation of the Brightmark RNG Holdings LLC joint venture to own projects across the United States to produce and market dairy biomethane, a renewable natural gas. Equity investments by each company in the new venture fund construction of infrastructure and commercial operation of dairy biomethane projects in multiple states. Chevron purchases RNG produced from these projects and markets the volumes for use in vehicles operating on compressed natural gas.

“Working with Brightmark to add new projects in Michigan underpins our commitment to improving how affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy is developed and delivered,” said Andy Walz, president of Chevron Americas Fuels & Lubricants. “Chevron is seeking to advance the energy transition by leveraging our existing capabilities across the full RNG value chain – marketing, sales, distribution, brands and infrastructure – to maximize margin capture and help industries and consumers that use our products build a lower carbon future.”

Project Overviews

The Red Arrow RNG project in Hartford, Michigan will use anaerobic digestion to convert 200,000 gallons of manure per day from 5,750 dairy cows into about 128,000 MMBtu of RNG each year – which is enough fuel to enable a heavy-duty truck to circle Earth at the equator 131 times. The facility will generate approximately 34,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas credits each year. The RNG produced at Red Arrow Dairy will be injected into the ANR Pipeline.

“One of my favorite parts of the job is implementing new technologies here on the farm that enable us to run more efficiently and improve the sustainability of our operations,” said Rudolf de Jong, President of Red Arrow Dairy. “I’m excited to get our anaerobic digestor up and running to see the positive impacts it will have on-farm operations.”

The SunRyz RNG project in Morenci, Michigan will convert 133,000 gallons of manure per day from 3,250 dairy cows into about 76,000 MMBtu of RNG each year – enough fuel to enable a heavy-duty truck to circle the equator 77 times. The facility will generate approximately 27,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions credits. The RNG generated at SunRyz will be injected into the nearby Rover pipeline.

“Adding an anaerobic digester is just the latest sustainability upgrade we’ve made at SunRyz,” said Case Ryzebol, Manager of SunRyz Dairy. “We’re always looking for ways to reduce costs and be good stewards of the environment at the same time. Brightmark gave us an opportunity to do just that with this project.”

The Meadow Rock Renewable Natural Gas project in Greenville, Michigan will convert 75,000 gallons of manure per day from 3,020 dairy cows into nearly 67,000 MMBtu of RNG each year – which is enough fuel to enable a heavy-duty truck to circle the Earth’s equator 68 times. The facility will generate approximately 28,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions credits. The RNG produced at Meadow Rock will be injected into the ANR Pipeline.

“We’re proud to be partnering with Brightmark on anaerobic digestion projects at two of our Michigan dairy farms,” added Jordan den Dulk, Manager of Meadow Rock Dairy. “The Brightmark team has been responsive to our needs from day one, and we’re looking forward to the sustainability and financial benefits of these projects.”

Anaerobic digestion systems can prevent notable quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere. Research shows that when all-climate benefits are considered together, RNG from dairy manure can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 400% when it is used to replace traditional vehicle fuels through this net lifecycle carbon-negative process. After the methane is extracted from the processed manure, the remaining soil nutrients will be returned to the farmers for use as fertilizer and water for forage crops for their cows. These partnerships will allow the farms to reduce land application of raw manure and improve odor, water quality, and nutrient management practices.

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