This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 21, 2007

Company Feeds Natural Gas Pipeline with Biogas from Manure

Environmental Power Corporation announced early in November that it has completed a facility to convert manure and other agricultural waste into a methane-rich biogas that will be sold as natural gas. The Huckabay Ridge facility in Stephenville, Texas, will employ anaerobic digesters to convert manure into biogas. Bacteria in the oxygen-free digester vessels feed on the wastes, producing a gas consisting mostly of methane and carbon dioxide. Environmental Power then conditions the biogas to natural gas standards and distributes it via a commercial natural gas pipeline. The company is currently selling the natural gas to the Lower Colorado River Authority, and in October 2008, it will begin selling natural gas to Pacific Gas and Electric Company under a new 10-year contract. The Huckabay Ridge facility has the capacity to produce 635 billion Btu of natural gas per year, enough to provide all the energy needs for more than 6,000 average U.S. homes. See the Environmental Power press release.

Landfills are another major source of methane, and as North America's leading provider of waste services, Waste Management has a corner on the landfill gas market. The company currently captures and produces energy from enough landfill gas to meet the energy needs of a million homes per year, and in an environmental initiative announced in October, the company committed to doubling its energy production by 2020. But for the sheer elegance of its approach, it's hard to beat the Prometheus Energy Company, which creates liquefied natural gas (LNG) from landfill gas and delivers it to vehicle fleets in Southern California. The elegance comes in with the company's purchase of an LNG-fueled Kenworth tractor, which is now being used to deliver the LNG. So the company is burning its own landfill gas to deliver landfill gas to other users. The first 10,000-gallon shipment was delivered to the Orange County Transit Authority, which operates a fleet of 232 LNG-fueled buses. See the Waste Management press release (PDF 48 KB) and the Prometheus Energy press release (PDF 63 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

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