Renewable Energy

More than 30 U.S. Renewable Natural Gas Projects Underway

By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

According to the EPA AgSTAR Livestock Anaerobic Digester Database, there are now 34 renewable natural gas (RNG) projects under construction in the U.S. and 96 manure-based anaerobic digestion (AD) systems that produce RNG.

AD is a natural process where plant and/or animal materials are broken down by micro-organisms in an air-tight tank or digester. This process releases a biogas that can be used to generate renewable heat, power or transport fuel.

The use of RNG provides benefits including fuel security, economic revenues or savings, local air quality and greenhouse gas emission reductions, the EPA says.

Pennsylvania-based Vision RNG LLC broke ground in mid-September for construction of its renewable natural gas project located on the Meridian Waste Eagle Ridge Landfill in Bowling Green, MO. The project will use 1,500 cubic feet per minute of landfill gas, converting it into a renewable energy source.

Construction scheduled to reach completion in Q1 2023.

The project will produce 375,000 MMBtu (1 million British Therman Units) of natural gas that will be injected into a nearby interstate natural gas pipeline and used by various customers across the U.S. for transportation fuel and other sustainability purposes.

Missouri currently has eight swine farms in operation for biogas end use as pipeline gas.

Monarch Bioenergy, a JV between Smithfield Foods Inc and Roeslein Alternative Energy, recently completed installation of manure-to-energy technology on nearly all of Smithfield’s Northern Missouri hog finishing farms. The new technology captures methane emissions and converts them into carbon-negative renewable natural gas to power homes, vehicles and businesses.

Kraig Westerbeek, VP of Smithfield Renewables for Smithfield Foods, says its Monarch Bioenergy manure-to-energy projects are making a significant environmental impact in removing 25 times more emissions from the atmosphere than are emitted during the clean energy’s end use.