Projects underway in New York and Oregon, along with another in California, are advancing the use of renewable natural gas.

San Francisco-based Brightmark Energy has partnered with four dairy farms in upstate New York to produce renewable natural gas (RNG), or biogas, from anaerobic digesters. About 225,000 gallons/day of dairy cow waste from 11,000 cows would be turned into RNG and other products.

"This is our biggest anaerobic digestion project to date, and we're just getting started," said Brightmark CEO Bob Powell. The company has similar projects ongoing in Washington state and Wisconsin.

Existing anaerobic digesters would be upgraded at five farms in the Buffalo area, which now provide gas for onsite and local grid power generation to refine the raw gas into 260,000 MMBtu/year. The produced RNG would be sent via pipelines to one of the farms, where it would interconnect with National Fuel Corp.'s Empire Pipeline Inc.

Meanwhile, in Oregon earlier this month Gov. Kate Brown signed state Senate Bill (SB) 98, allowing utilities to acquire RNG for mixing with their other natural gas supplies. Several states allow renewable fuel to be mixed into existing utility gas distribution systems.

Supported by Oregon’s largest gas utility NW Natural, SB 98 would permit RNG to be phased in with up to 15% by 2030, 20% in 2035 and 30% by 2050.

"It is essential that natural gas companies invest in renewable technologies to reduce greenhouse gas impacts," said Oregon’s Meredith Connolly, director of Climate Solutions. 

Also in Southern California, an effort continues to reduce emissions from the combined ports of Long Beach-Los Angeles by using RNG and Cummins Westport (CWI) natural gas engines. RNG and the engines would be used for a fleet of 13,000-14,000 daily truck calls from the ports.

In addition, Total Transportation Services Inc. is planning to convert its fleet with 40 big rig tractor units that would use RNG and the CWI engines.