How Chevron’s New Anaerobic Digester Will Work

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Jan 20, 2022

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(Credit: Pixabay)

Chevron today announced plans to construct an anaerobic digestion project at Vlot Calf Ranch in Chowchilla, California.

The Vlot anaerobic digestion project, a joint venture between Brightmark RNG Holdings and Chevron, is anticipated to capture, clean, and convert methane from manure that would otherwise escape to the atmosphere on the Vlot Calf Ranch and dairy farm into renewable natural gas (RNG). When used in the transportation sector, renewable natural gas from dairy operations has a negative carbon intensity on a lifecycle basis under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The Vlot Project is Brightmark RNG Holdings LLC’s first renewable natural gas project in the state of California. This is Brightmark’s largest RNG project to date.

“Sustainability considerations and agriculture go hand-in-hand; one cannot exist without the other,” said Case Vlot of Vlot Calf Ranch, in a press release. “As farmers and livestock owners, we take pride in caring for our land and environment because we know that when we do that, it will in turn, take care of us and our animals. It is what farmers, ranchers and dairy farmers do. Innovation in agriculture is constant and ever-changing. This digester is another step in providing environmental benefits to our farm and surroundings. In this case, it’s utilizing the manure from our cattle in an anaerobic digester that will help generate those benefits to continue our legacy in sustainability. We are looking forward to seeing this project completed.”

The project is expected to be completed in 2023. Other renewable products generated by the project include recycled water back to the farm, biofertilizer and digested dairy fiber, which can be used as cow bedding or as a peat moss substitute.

Using cattle manure to generate energy has been done in the past. In fact, in November 2021, Bloom Energy announced a one-megawatt (MW) fuel cell deployment at Bar 20 Dairy Farms in Kerman, California to efficiently produce on-site, renewable electricity from dairy cow manure. The installation marked Bloom’s first dairy farm biogas project.

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