Manure Manager

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Michigan dairies partner with Brightmark for RNG project


April 1, 2020
By Manure Manager

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Three western Michigan dairies have partnered with Brightmark, a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, which continues to add dairies to their network of manure-to-renewable natural gas (RNG) projects.

The project, named the Castor project, had the Michigan farmers each sign supply agreements with Brightmark, indicating their intent to provide the company with dairy manure from their herds that will serve as feedstock for new anaerobic digesters to be built on Beaver Creek Farm.

“This investment will help local farms like ours continue to be environmentally friendly to our community and help us to exceed environmental regulations and responsibilities,” said Greg Stahl, owner of Den Dulk Dairy Farm. “We have always taken pride in being excellent stewards of our land, community, and industry.”

Once the Castor project is fully operational in early 2022, it is anticipated to produce about 328,500 MMBtu (million British thermal units) of RNG each year, making this Brightmark’s largest RNG project to date. The company has partnered on biogas projects with 20 dairy farms in six states over the past two years.

“This renewable natural gas project will be a win-win for the community, the environment, and the farmers, who have the potential to significantly reduce their nutrient management costs,” said Brightmark CEO Bob Powell in an official statement. “We are actively working with Ottawa County to obtain all the permits for this project and to make sure it we’re maximizing benefits to the local community and our farmer partners.”

This project will reduce the net greenhouse gas emissions from the manure processed at this facility at a rate of 98,783 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to planting 129,000 acres of forest each year.

After the methane is extracted from the processed manure, the remaining materials will be transported to the Muskegon County Wastewater Management System, where it will be processed alongside the county’s other wastewater.

Brightmark has designed the Castor RNG project to have expansion capability, so future phases are planned.