New project to convert 90,000 gallons of dairy manure per day into transportation fuel and other products
SAN FRANCISCO — Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, announced today that it has purchased an anaerobic digester northwest of Madison, Wisconsin that will convert 90,000 gallons per day of dairy waste from three local farms into biogas and other useful products. After planned installation of gas upgrade equipment is completed, the project is projected to produce enough renewable natural gas (RNG) to replace at least 50,000 MMBtu of conventional natural gas each year. That is enough fuel to travel 1,270,000 miles* in a compressed natural gas (CNG) bus, or from San Francisco to New York and back over 200 times. Brightmark Energy purchased the digester from Clean Fuel Partners, which will continue its work on the project by providing operations and maintenance support. The project was developed in close coordination with Dane County, Wisconsin. After all phases of the improvement project are complete, the RNG collected from the anaerobic digester will be transported to the county’s recently completed landfill-gas-processing facility, where it will be injected directly into an interstate pipeline owned by ANR Pipeline Company. The Dane County facility is the first such facility in the United States designed to receive biogas from multiple off-site locations and connect that renewable gas with RNG stations locally and across the nation.
“Brightmark is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this unique gas-processing facility here in Wisconsin,” said Brightmark Energy CEO Bob Powell. “This project is a win-win for all – it’s good for the local environment, good for the regional economy, and good for the climate. We look forward to working with Brightmark Energy as they invest in additional renewable natural gas and manure treatment facilities,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This community digester represents a victory for family dairy farms, cleaner air, and cleaner lakes.”
Anaerobic digestion has been shown to significantly reduce local pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The process recovers most of the nitrogen and phosphorous from manure so that it cannot escape into the air or local waterways via runoff and uses these nutrients to create balanced biofertilizers that help grow local crops. Anaerobic digestion also prevents methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere, thereby reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy manure to be processed at this facility at a rate of 16,000 metric tons per year.
“As a participating farm, we are excited to have Brightmark Energy as a partner in anaerobic digestion of the manure from our cows. This agreement will help local farms continue to be environmentally friendly to our community and help us to stay in compliance with environmental regulations. We have always taken pride in being excellent stewards of land conservation and ensuring our land is a safe environment for our neighbors,” said Chuck Ripp of Ripp’s Dairy Valley LLC.
John Haeckel, Founder and CEO of Clean Fuel Partners, added, “We look forward to Brightmark taking this facility to a new level. Their investment will create both long-term viability and increased manure processing for the surrounding area – a key goal behind the original cooperative development of the project with Dane County.”
Farmers who are interested in providing additional manure as feedstock for the Madison digester should reach out to Brightmark Energy. In addition to the Dane County project in Wisconsin, the company is currently developing similar biogas projects nationwide, and is actively seeking feedstock suppliers with an interest in collaborating on such efforts.
*CNG buses get about 3.3 miles per diesel gallon equivalent, per this 2016 report.