Manure Manager

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South Dakota dairies enter into manure-to-RNG partnership


February 18, 2020
By Manure Manager

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Two South Dakota dairies have partnered with Brightmark Energy (BE), a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, to supply manure for a renewable natural gas (RNG) project.

Boadwine Farms and Moody County Dairy will provide the manure of their 12,000 dairy cows and heifers, and BE will capture the methane produced by the manure to convert it to RNG. The project, dubbed the Athena project, will see refined RNG injected into the local interstate pipeline system for use across the state for transport, cooking and electricity.

BE recently made headlines for their biogas project collaboration with Larson family dairy farms in Okeechobee County, Florida.

The Athena project will include the construction of new anaerobic digesters on three farms in Minnehaha County, SD – Boadwine Farms, Pioneer Dairy and Moody County Dairy – whose cows produce a total of 55.6 million gallons of manure every year.

“Digesters offer farmers an additional method of utilising resources in a sustainable manner,” Tom Peterson, executive director of the South Dakota Dairy Producers, said. “In addition, these projects benefit communities with economic contributions in our rural areas.”

It is hoped this project will produce 217,000 MMBtu of RNG annually, preventing 71,173 tons (64,567 metric tonnes) of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to the amount of gas needed to drive 2,494 vehicles for a year or planting around 76,000 acres of forest every year.

“As dairy farmers, we can be part of the solution in helping the environment,” said Lynn Boadwine, owner of Boadwine Dairy. “The digester projects are a win-win, because we have the ability to further process the manure while reducing greenhouse gases.

“Agriculture continually evolves. Our improvements in sustainability in the last generation are just short of incredible.”