Renewable natural gas now flowing into SoCalGas pipelines

Source: press release, 14 February 2019

Biogas is cleaned and conditioned to remove or reduce non-methane elements in order to produce RNG, which once processed, is interchangeable with traditional pipeline-quality natural gas
Biogas is cleaned and conditioned to remove or reduce non-methane elements in order to produce RNG, which once processed, is interchangeable with traditional pipeline-quality natural gas (illustration: American Gas Association)

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and biogas producer Calgren Dairy Fuels (Calgren) have announced that renewable natural gas produced at Calgren’s dairy digester facility in Pixley, California is being injected into SoCalGas pipelines. The project marks the first time that carbon-negative renewable natural gas produced from cow manure has been injected directly into SoCalGas’ natural gas system. In August 2018, SoCalGas began receiving renewable natural gas into its system from CR&R, Inc.’s anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, California. The renewable natural gas from that digestion facility is already being used to fuel about 400 waste hauling trucks. Renewable natural gas is a carbon-negative fuel produced from waste and agriculture that can be used in trucks and buses, to generate electricity, fuel heating systems in homes and businesses, and for cooking.

“Developing renewable natural gas is a smart and cost-effective solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation and building sectors,” says Sharon Tomkins SoCalGas vice president for customer solutions and strategy. “Replacing just 16 to 20 percent of our traditional natural gas with renewable natural gas would reduce emissions equal to electrifying 100 percent of buildings in the state, but it would be two to three times more cost-effective. Moreover, the renewable natural gas solution does not require expensive appliance changeouts or costly new mandates.”

“We are proud of what we have accomplished here,” says Lyle Schlyer, Calgren’s President. “The benefits of this partnership between dairy farmers, private industry and SoCalGas are numerous. We produce clean renewable natural gas for use as a carbon-negative fuel which benefits the local community through cleaner air and jobs.”

“Renewable natural gas options have presented themselves as an incredibly viable way of achieving our environmental sustainability goals,” says Assemblymember Devon J. Mathis. “Tulare County is the dairy capital of the world, and it’s wonderful to see a logical blend of agriculture and technology in a way which benefits everyone. The potential for these technologies is outstanding and deserves to be further developed and funded.”

“The biogas project brought to Tulare County by Calgren will be a welcomed economic benefit to Tulare County communities,” says Pete Vander Poel, Vice Chair of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. “This new energy sector will not only reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality, it will provide real job opportunities for County residents and economic growth.”

Calgren’s facility, known as a dairy digester pipeline cluster, will collect biogas from anaerobic digesters at 12 Tulare County dairies then clean it to produce pipeline-quality renewable natural gas. This is the first such dairy digester pipeline cluster in California and is expected to be the largest dairy biogas operation in the US when Calgren adds 9 additional dairies later this year. The facility will capture the methane produced from the manure of more than 75,000 cows, preventing about 130,000 tons of greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 passenger cars off the road for a year.

SoCalGas will be capable of adding up to 2.26 billion cubic feet of renewable natural gas each year to its pipeline system from the facility, enough to fuel more than 1,200 Class 8 heavy duty trucks.