Portland-based NW Natural is partnering with Idaho-based BioCarbN to invest up to $38 million in four U.S. renewable natural gas (RNG) production projects


The joint projects involve ones with a Tyson Foods Inc. facility in Nebraska to produce biomethane from its wastewater treatment unit, according NW Natural’s Scott Johnson, interim director of Renewable Resources. 

“These first deals with Tyson are a good start, but we will need to invest in more projects to meet our goals,” Johnson said. “The methane is derived from the facility wastewater, but food production waste is the organic feedstock that produces this methane and puts the RNG into the agricultural byproducts category.”

NW Natural envisions the four projects could produce up to 1.2 billion Btu/year of RNG or enough fuel for 18,000 homes serviced by the Oregon utility.

CEO David Anderson called the new partnership “just one step forward in what we intend to be many to follow.”

Last month, NW Natural exercised an option for an $8 million development project with Tyson to produce RNG. The project is slated to be completed late this year. Johnson said it would be the utility’s first RNG project under Oregon’s Senate Bill 98. 

“At this point, our regulations are agnostic regarding the feedstock, and we are looking for the lowest costs options for our customers,” Johnson said. “These Tyson projects are food waste, and we also expect to find success with landfills among other feedstocks.”

Other partners include Connecticut-based Cross River Infrastructure Partners. “All of the RNG projects offer emission reduction benefits akin to wind and solar projects with added reliability and seasonal storage capabilities,” he said.