September 7, 2020. Fortistar and Paloma Dairy announced the beginning of construction on a dairy digester renewable natural gas (RNG) facility, the Sunoma Renewable Biofuel Project. The new facility will produce 1.6 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of vehicle fuel annually for the Class 8 trucking sector—enough fuel to move 10 million miles of freight.
In addition to the significant community environmental benefits and savings for the fleets that use the fuel, the project will boost the local economy with 50 construction jobs and 6 permanent positions in Gila Bend, Arizona. This project continues an aggressive renewable fuels growth strategy at Fortistar aimed at helping businesses and public agencies dramatically reduce their GHG emissions with a solution that also saves them money. TruStar Energy, a Fortistar portfolio company and leading developer of RNG fueling stations, will market and deliver the fuel.
“This one project will help provide solutions for two important American industries. We are using our expertise to create new economic streams for dairies, while capturing methane and repurposing it to decarbonize the transportation sector,” said Mark Comora, President of Fortistar. “We are excited about partnering with the Van Hofwegen family on the Sunoma Renewable Biofuel Project to create the lowest carbon transportation fuel on the market.”
“The decision was easy,” remarked Robert Van Hofwegen Sr., patriarch of the Paloma Dairy family business. “We saw a great environmental and economic opportunity in the management of our manure and emissions. The key was finding a partner that could execute and unlock the potential value. We believe we found that partner with Fortistar and we look forward to working with them on this most exciting project.”
Paloma Dairy is owned by the Van Hofwegen family, a fourth-generation dairy farm family in Gila Bend, AZ. The farm relies on the latest radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that helps to provide its distinctive black and white Holstein cows with individualized care and provisions. Paloma Dairy keeps track of the entire health record of each cow via its signature RFID technology, which also allows employees to check on the health of each cow daily. In addition to the care of over 10,000 animals, the farm produces cow feed via alfalfa, corn silage, wheat and barley across 7,000 acres of farmland.