A new map and project database show at least 76 operational renewable natural gas production facilities in the United States and Canada now. That represents an 85% growth from the 41 projects built by 2014, says the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas.
The RNG Coalition, a member-led nonprofit representing the renewable natural gas industry in North America, tracks projects in the US and Canada that have substantial development, are under construction, and ones that have gone online.
The updated database was developed after months of research by the California-based RNG Coalition and the New York City-based renewables nonprofit Energy Vision, the coalition says. The database and map will be updated as new renewable natural gas production facilities become operational, according to the coalition.
In 2015, there were 51 RNG facilities in the US and Canada. At that point, the coalition expected the number to double by 2025 but the growth is actually on track to double in half that time. According to the coalition, an additional 23 RNG production facilities are currently under construction and another 25 have reached stages of substantial development prior to starting construction.
Converting waste streams into renewable natural gas is largely a result of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, says Jay Hopper, vice president of industry developer Aria Energy. “Since the environmental benefits of RNG were ruled eligible to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers in 2014, private capital has funded dozens of new projects all across the continent, and dozens more are in process.”
The world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, currently has several renewable natural gas projects in the United States. One with Roeslein Alternative Energy in Missouri covers hog farm lagoons to collect biogas, treat it, and turn it into pipeline quality natural gas.
“We want to reduce our carbon emissions and produce a substitute for natural gas from the manure treatment processes at our hog farming operations,” Bill Gill, assistant vice president for sustainability at Smithfield Foods, told Energy Manager Today.
State-level incentives are also playing a role in expanding renewable natural gas production. A hog waste-to-energy project in North Carolina came online last month. Project developer OptimaBio worked with Duke Energy to capture methane gas from five local farms’ hog waste. That gas gets transported to a Duke Energy complex, where it gets used to produce electricity.
Duke Energy says the project is expected to produce enough methane to yield about 11,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually.
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