March 18, 2021. bp and Aria Energy announced a project to capture methane from waste at three California dairy farms and process it into renewable natural gas (RNG), which will then be supplied as fuel for the US transportation sector.

Agriculture accounts for nearly ten percent of US greenhouse gas emissions, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Capturing methane from farm waste can lower these emissions.

The process begins with anaerobic digestion, which involves microorganisms breaking down biodegradable material in a closed system called a digester. One of the end products is biogas, primarily methane, which can be processed into RNG and used to fuel vehicles.

Digesters will be installed at three dairy farms in California’s Central Valley, producing biogas from farm waste rather than allowing it to decompose and release methane into the atmosphere.

RNG-fueled vehicles are estimated to result in up to 95 percent lower emissions than those fueled by gasoline or diesel on a lifecycle basis, according to a US Department of Energy study.

The project, called RNG Moovers, combines the expertise of three companies:

  • Aria Energy providing expertise in capturing biogas released from organic waste and refining it to remove contaminants and increasing its heat content, resulting in RNG.
  • Aligned Digesters contributing proven experience constructing and operating digesters along with decades-long relationships with nationwide dairy owners.
  • bp delivering the RNG to the transportation sector through a 20-year offtake agreement executed by its low carbon trading business.

Sean Reavis, Senior Vice President, bp Low Carbon and Trading said: “This is a great opportunity to expand our RNG business and help meet the growing demand for natural gas vehicle fuel. RNG can play an important role in decarbonizing the transportation sector and helping bp and the world get to net zero emissions.”