BioCycle October 2017
Montpelier, Vermont: PUC Approves RNG Program For Vermont Gas
The Vermont Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved a renewable natural gas (RNG) program for Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. (VGS). Under the program, retail customers can choose to buy RNG in amounts equal to 10, 25, 50, or 100 percent of their total monthly requirements at specified prices per hundred cubic feet as an additional charge. VGS plans to purchase RNG from the recently permitted LincolnRNG anaerobic digestion project that will be built on the Goodrich Farm in Salisbury, Vermont. Biomethane produced by the digester will be blended with fossil natural gas in VGS’s pipeline. VGS also plans to obtain RNG from existing resources, such as landfill gas facilities located outside of Vermont.
The PUC and the Vermont Department of Public Service will assess the RNG program on an annual basis and comprehensively review the effectiveness of the program every three years to ensure appropriate progress toward the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan (“CEP”) goal to meet 90 percent of Vermont’s energy needs through renewable sources. VGS is required to file and implement a marketing plan to increase customer awareness of and participation in the program. Marketing will include an online calculator so that a VGS customer can easily calculate the cost impacts of participating in the program. The gas utility will file a proposed tariff with the PUC for customers that choose to participate in the program. Sales under the program will begin after PUC approval of that tariff.
London, England: UK To Raise Renewable Fuel Obligation To 10% By 2020
In mid-September, the United Kingdom Department of Transport confirmed it will increase the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) to 10 percent by 2020 and has published amended Greenhouse Gas Reporting Regulations. The RTFO was introduced in 2008 and obliges fuel suppliers to sell a percentage of renewable fuel. The current percentage is 4.75 percent. The proposals include introducing a cap for fuels made from agricultural crops starting at 4 percent in 2018 and falling gradually from 2021 to 3 percent in 2026 and 2 percent in 2032. The UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) welcomed this decision but expressed disappointment with the confirmation that there will be a crop cap, noting the cap puts at risk domestic jobs and manufacturing capabilities. The government also plans an additional target for development fuels, such as aviation fuel and hydrogen, starting at 0.1 percent in 2019 and rising to 2.8 percent in 2032. The REA is disappointed that renewable gas from anaerobic digestion (AD) has been excluded from the development fuels target.
Fremont, Michigan: Biodigester Reopens
Generate Capital Inc., a San Francisco-based investment and sustainable infrastructure company with a focus on renewable energy projects, purchased the closed anaerobic digester in Fremont, originally built and operated by NOVI Energy. Generate Capital made substantial investments in order to resume operations at the Fremont Regional Anaerobic Digester, which closed two years ago. The plant is now designed to handle approximately 450 tons or 120,000 gallons of organics per day from area food processors and manufacturers and other generators. Biogas will be used to produce more than 2.8 megawatts of electricity. Plant upgrades include state-of-the-art controls for improved process monitoring, depackaging equipment, and odor management. A stringent digestate management plan has been approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Generate Capital partnered with Dynamic Systems Management LLC, an experienced Waukesha, Wisconsin-based developer and operator of anaerobic digesters, to manage the facility. Fremont Regional Digester has developed a network of trucking subcontractors that perform regular collection services for customers and provide Certificates of Destruction for those requiring disposal certainty.
Tain, Scotland: Distillery Starts Up Anaerobic Membrane Reactor
Glenmorangie, a single-malt scotch whiskey distiller and bottler, began operating an anaerobic membrane bioreactor at its Northern Highlands distillery to treat wastewater from the plant and utilize the biogas to heat the stills in which the whiskey is made. The distillery produces about 1.3 million gallons/day of wastewater, primarily due to the need for 12 gallons of water to make one gallon of whiskey. Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) use membrane filtration to remove solids and oxygen-demanding substances in the wastewater. The captured solids digest in the reactor to produce biogas. The Glenmorangie AnMBR uses ultrafiltration tubular membranes to remove almost 13,000 tons of COD (chemical oxygen demand) daily, producing 123,600 cubic feet of biogas.
Guymon, Oklahoma: Pipeline Quality RNG Production
High Plains Bioenergy, a subsidiary of Seaboard Foods, started operations of its new Biogas Upgrading Plant (BUP) in August 2017. The plant produces pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG) from biogas collected from the wastewater treatment system at the Seaboard Foods pork processing plant in Guymon. In the past, Seaboard Foods recovered raw biogas from the three anaerobic wastewater lagoons at the plant that was of a quality suitable only for heating the boilers in the pork processing facility. The new BUP conditions the biogas through a pressure swing absorption process and is expected to produce 440 million standard cubic feet per year of pipeline quality RNG that will be sold to utility companies to generate electricity.
In addition, High Plains Bioenergy supports the compressed natural gas (CNG) operations for Seaboard Foods and Seaboard Transport, which includes a public CNG filling station across the road from the Guymon pork processing plant, private filling sites and consultation for organizations interested in using CNG in their fleet operations. High Plains Bioenergy also operates a biodiesel plant, which uses animal fats, including pork fat from the Seaboard Foods’ pork processing plant, and vegetable oils as the feedstock for biodiesel.
West Oahu, Hawaii: Green Light For Hawaii Wastewater Biogas Facility
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission signed off on the contract that the City and County of Honolulu awarded to Hawaii Gas in July 2016 to capture and process biogas from the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant (WTP) in West Oahu. Hawaii Gas says the Honouliuli WTP produces about 800,000 therms/year of energy, which is currently not being utilized. By selling the biogas, the City and County of Honolulu is expected to generate an estimated $1.6 million of revenue annually. Hawaii Gas, the state’s only regulated gas utility, plans to invest about $5 million in the infrastructure to process the raw biogas and to connect the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant to the company’s existing pipeline.
Dagenham, England: Food Waste Digester Opens Its Doors
ReFood, a United Kingdom-based recycler of food chain products, recently completed its third anaerobic digestion facility in Dagenham, east of London. The plant has capacity to process 175,000 tons/year of food waste, and generate 50 million cubic feet of biogas annually. The project will support Transport for London’s Clean Air Action Plan by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 81,000 tons/year. ReFood installed a continuous stirred-tank reactor system from Bigadan, a Danish biogas technology provider with 60 installations around the world, including a dairy manure digester in New York State. Food waste is depackaged and macerated prior to digestion. The biogas is combusted for electricity generation. Digestate is used to produce DynAgro, an organic-based fertilizer containing nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate and potash.
ReFood’s other two AD facilities are in Doncaster and Widnes, England. In addition to food waste the company collects through its own hauling service, the AD plants receive organic waste streams from adjacent food factories. In turn, ReFood supplies process heat back to these factories.
Holland, Wisconsin: Dairy Manure AD Project Wins Funding
The Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin approved a conditional $15 million Focus on Energy grant to BC Organics LLC for an innovative $60 million bioenergy system in Brown County. The project’s proposed location is northeast of Holland, near Green Bay, colocated with a proposed landfill owned by Brown County. The system will produce renewable natural gas from dairy farm manure and other waste. Estimated energy output is 5.7 million therms, notes a press release from the PSC. The AD facility will also use advanced nutrient removal and separation technologies to make animal bedding, remove 578,000 pounds of phosphorus and make 163 million gallons of cleaned digestate annually. The Wisconsin PSC, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection collaborated to develop a request for proposals (RFP) for innovative anaerobic digester systems that could produce renewable energy, remove nutrients from manure, protect water quality, and reduce pathogens.
BC Organics is a consortium that consists of 24 members led by Wisconsin-based Dynamic Concepts of Waukesha, along with WEC Energy Group, US Biogas LLC and BioStar Organics.
The consortium was recommended unanimously by the evaluation team. It has commitments from nine Wisconsin farms with over 22,000 animal units, with the capability to expand to include additional farms in the future. The facility is expected to begin operations by January 1, 2019, and will have up to 20 full-time employees. BC Organics must obtain all of the necessary state and local regulatory approvals before construction may begin and include an odor control plan designed to minimize impacts to neighboring landowners.