April 15, 2020. U.S. Gain recently completed a gas processing facility at Clover Hill Dairy in Campbellsport, Wisconsin. The result is good news for the renewable natural gas industry, the environment and the farm.
Anaerobic digesters break down organic matter and, as the bacteria used in the process “work,” they generate biogas. The non-methane components of the biogas are removed so the methane can be used as a fuel or energy source. The upgrade at Clover Hill Dairy was necessary to begin production of renewable natural gas (RNG), a cleaner and more desirable alternative fuel that reduces transportation emissions and ultimately, the end-users’ carbon footprint.
U.S. Gain has partnered with several farming operations throughout the Midwest to meet the growing demand for RNG. “Many of the large farms already have digesters and we work with them to offtake and distribute the RNG produced,” U.S. Gain Director of RNG Business Development Bryan Nudelbacher explained. “But the Clover Hill project goes one step beyond that. Now, we’re also actively leading development of gas processing facilities and coordinating transportation of pipeline-grade gas to injection sites, drawing on skill-sets from industry experts, as appropriate.”
RNG projects can lag anticipated timelines due to the number of complexities throughout the development process. Involving the best in the business was key to bringing the Clover Hill project online both on time and within budget.
A key partner to U.S. Gain in the Clover Hill project was Nacelle Solutions, an industry leader in developing gas clean-up equipment specifically designed for the RNG industry. “Nacelle has enjoyed working with U.S. Gain and the Bonlenders on the Clover Hill project from its infancy to most recently the first sale of RNG. We are pleased to see the plant up and running (on time and on budget), as well as performing the way we designed it. We look forward to the operations phase of the project where we will be safely and continuously producing RNG for U.S. Gain,” said Nacelle’s Co-Founder Gov Graney.
The Clover Hill project improves access to RNG for the transportation and thermal energy sector, but also benefits communities surrounding the farm. The digester will now capture 99% of methane produced during the production, significantly improving localized air quality.
The Bonlender Family at Clover Hill Dairy adds there are other benefits as well. “Since 2007, we’ve had a methane digester. For the past 13 years, it has provided us with many values including higher quality, safer manure for fertilizer, electrical production and a renewable bedding source for our animals,” commented Joe Bonlender. “By replacing our generators with the RNG system, our farm will see many added environmental benefits such as less noise pollution (from generators), cleaner air and less odor. Our business will also see an added income stream. Our family feels this partnership with U.S. Gain is a great opportunity for our farm and our greater community.”
“As for the RNG produced, it’s of value to fleets on the West Coast, particularly southern California where air quality is a tremendous concern,” Nudelbacher said. “Fleets that use RNG within their operations are able to claim transportation-emission reductions, strengthening sustainability performance, and also share in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) environmental credit value.”