March 5, 2020. Brightmark, a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, has partnered with three Western Michigan farms on the latest in a series of biogas projects the company has launched over the past two years. The Michigan farmers have each signed supply agreements with Brightmark indicating their intent to provide the company with dairy manure from their herds that will serve as feedstock for new anaerobic digesters to be built on Beaver Creek Farm. The digesters will capture, extract, and clean the methane in the manure, then convert it into renewable natural gas (RNG) and inject it into a nearby gas pipeline.

The farms participating in the Castor project are:

  • Beaver Creek Farm: Coopersville, Ottawa County
  • Den Dulk Farm: Ravenna, Muskegon County
  • River Ridge Farm: Coopersville, Ottawa County

Once the Castor project is fully operational in early 2022, it is anticipated to produce about 328,500 MMBtu of RNG each year, making this Brightmark’s largest RNG project to date. The company has partnered on biogas projects with 20 dairy farms in six states over the past two years. Once all of these projects are operational, Brightmark’s RNG projects will generate enough renewable natural gas each year to drive 5,100 18-wheeler trucks from San Francisco to New York City.

Brightmark CEO Bob Powell said, “This renewable natural gas project will be a win-win for the community, the environment, and the farmers, who have the potential to significantly reduce their nutrient management costs. We are actively working with Ottawa County to obtain all the permits for this project and to make sure it we’re maximizing benefits to the local community and our farmer partners.”

Anaerobic digestion systems can prevent significant 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 400% when it is used to replace traditional vehicle fuels. This project will reduce the net greenhouse gas emissions from the manure processed at this facility at a rate of 98,783 metric tons per year, which is equivalent to planting 129,000 acres of forest each year1. After the methane is extracted from the processed manure, the remaining materials will be transported to the Muskegon County Wastewater Management System where it will be processed alongside the county’s other wastewater. This partnership will allow the farms to reduce land application of manure and improve odor and nutrient management practices.