US Gain, a division of Wisconsin-based US Venture Inc. and a developer and distributer of alternative fuel and renewable energy, recently announced a new offtake agreement with EnTech Solutions at its agricultural biodigester near Madison, Wisconsin. This project is a partnership between EnTech Solutions, Northern Biogas, and four local Dane County dairy farms where agricultural waste is processed in digester tanks to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) which will be used as an alternative fuel in the California transportation market. US Gain has more than 30 RNG development sites.
The digester facility had previously produced electricity but has been repurposed to produce RNG that can be easily injected into the natural gas pipeline and distributed throughout the nation. In this case, US Gain is sending RNG from Madison to its fleet customers in California where transportation-related emissions reductions are a priority.
“We’re proud to work with EnTech Solutions, supplying more carbon-negative RNG to the California market,” said Mike Koel, president of US Gain. “Manure-based RNG features the lowest carbon intensity (CI) scores which translates to the best environmental impact that sustainably minded organizations are seeking. Additionally, given our Wisconsin roots, we’re pleased to see the agricultural community win. Farmers are looking for additional methods to manage their financial needs for future generations and the combination of biodigesters and RNG processing gives them options.”
A unique attribute of this project that amplifies its positive environmental impact is the incorporation of a renewable energy microgrid onsite. Featuring solar panels and batteries, this microgrid has an output of more than 2.8 MW of clean energy generation — the equivalent of powering more than 400 homes. This increases energy efficiency and further reduces the RNG’s CI score. Microgrid use in agricultural applications is still a relatively new concept. US Gain believes that as projects like this come online successfully, other digester operations may view microgrids as a viable solution.
“The use of microgrids to produce renewable electricity not only saves on project costs but also significantly decreases the facility’s environmental impact by reducing reliance on grid electricity,” said Scott Romenesko, EnTech Solutions president. “As businesses continue to become more energy conscious and focus on sustainability goals, RNG paired with the development of microgrids is a great way to decarbonize project operations. We know this is a replicable process that can help other biodigesters achieve their goals.”