California Funds Dairy Digester Projects for Renewable Fuel

| USA, Sacramento CA
Lakeview Dairy Project - manure lagoon

Lakeview Dairy Lagoon construction (Image: CalBio)

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $35.2 million in grant funding to 18 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms. Harvested renewable natural gas will for the most part be directed to fuel for transportation.

“California continues to the lead the nation in supporting smart climate programs that address on-farm challenges and promote agricultural sustainability,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I applaud our dairy farmers for proactively addressing climate pollutants and reducing overall greenhouse emissions to help meet the state’s climate goals.”

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes.  Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 80 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions, which can be used to produce electricity or natural gas.

CDFA also administers the Alternative Manure Management Program, which promotes non-digester manure management practices in California dairy and livestock operations to reduce methane emissions. CDFA received 53 applications by the Oct. 16, 2017 deadline, requesting a total of $29.5 million in grants. These applications are currently under review.

Bio Energy Lakeview Dairy Project

Lakeview Dairy digester construction (Image: CalBio)

Financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state’s climate goals. CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities. Dairy digester grant recipients will provide an estimated $71.2 million in matching funds for the development of their projects.

Examples of works to be carried out using the funding include:

  • building Tier 1 designated manure-only covered lagoon digesters with enhanced gas storage, gas pretreatment and effluent distribution. The project will add sand land and screens for solid separation pre-digester. Blowers will deliver biogas to an adjacent centralized upgrading facility where it will processed for use as vehicle fuel.
  • installation of renewable compressed natural gas (RCNG) stations and later connect to the utility pipeline to supply more RCNG stations.

Participants in various projects include California Bioenergy, 4 Creeks Engineering, Anaergia, 4C Global and SoCalGas.

Information about the 2017 Dairy Digester Research and Development Program projects is available at

Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture

Related article: CARB Issues Lowest Ever Carbon Intensity Score for RNG

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