US$34 Million, US$38 Million RNG Facilities Begin Production In South Dakota

At Full Capacity, The Facilities Are Expected To Supply 2.66 Million Gallons Of Negative Carbon-Intensity RNG Annually To The Transportation Market

Clean Energy Digester At Drumgoon Dairy In Lake Norden, South Dakota (Image Courtesy Of Clean Energy Fuels)

Clean Energy Fuels Corporation (Clean Energy) has completed a new renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility at Drumgoon Dairy in Lake Norden, South Dakota. The 6500-cow dairy farm is expected to supply 1.66 million gallons (6.28 million liters) of negative carbon-intensity RNG annually to the transportation market when at full capacity. Construction of the US$38 million RNG digester project was completed in early-December 2023 and injection into the interstate natural gas pipeline system of the RNG began within weeks. The RNG produced at Drumgoon will be virtually stored until all pathways for federal and state environmental credits are approved, and a carbon-intensity score is assigned to the RNG, expected in the first half of 2024.

“Completion of the RNG project at Drumgoon Dairy, along with several others that are right behind it, is already making a contribution to controlling harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Clay Corbus, senior vice president of renewables at Clean Energy. “Being a multi-generational operation, Drumgoon’s owners are always thinking about the future, whether it’s bringing in the latest technology to better track and monitor their cows or transforming their herd to antibiotic-free. Adding an RNG digester that captures the methane produced by Drumgoon’s cows and turning it into a clean fuel is the ultimate recycling project.”

All the RNG produced at Drumgoon will be available at Clean Energy’s fueling infrastructure. Clean Energy sales of RNG into the transportation market for the first nine months of 2023 grew 17% over the same period of 2022, and with customers such as UPS, Republic Services, LA Metro, Knight Swift, Amazon, and others. The company said that demand of the ultra-clean fuel is expected to continue to expand.

Clean Energy also announced the successful completion and operational launch of an RNG production facility at Tri-Cross Dairy in Viborg, South Dakota. The 5000-cow dairy farm is expected to supply 1 million gallons (3.79 million liters) of negative carbon-intensity RNG annually to the transportation market when at full capacity. The construction costs of the RNG production facility, including the building of digesters and the processing plant, totaled US$34 million and was completed in December 2023. The injecting of pipeline quality RNG began shortly after completion. Clean Energy is in process of filing the necessary applications to generate federal and state environmental credits.

Clean Energy Digester At Tri-Cross Dairy In Viborg, South Dakota (Image Courtesy Of Clean Energy Fuels)

“We anticipate 2024 to be a pivotal year in the demand for RNG fuel in the transportation market with the introduction of Cummins’ X15N natural gas engine for heavy-duty trucks. Clean Energy’s fueling infrastructure is expanding to meet that demand and we’ll need a constant source of additional low-carbon RNG to supply those stations. The new production facilities at Tri-Cross Dairy and the other farms in the Midwest that are now producing RNG is a critical component to our strategy,” said Corbus.

The Drumgoon Dairy RNG project and the Tri-Cross Dairy project were financed through Clean Energy’s joint venture with BP, developed with Dynamic Renewables, and are part of a series of several RNG projects the three companies have partnered to build at dairies in the Midwest.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture accounts for nearly 10% of US greenhouse gas emissions and the transportation sector accounts for another 28%. Capturing methane from farm waste lowers these emissions. RNG, produced by that captured methane and used as a transportation fuel, significantly lowers greenhouse emissions on a lifecycle basis when compared to diesel. This allows RNG to be one of the only fuels to receive a negative carbon-intensity score based on the reduction of emissions at the source and at the vehicle.