Construction of the $38 million RNG digester project was completed in early-December 2023.  -  Photo: Clean Energy Fuels

Construction of the $38 million RNG digester project was completed in early-December 2023.

Photo: Clean Energy Fuels

Clean Energy Fuels has completed a new renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility at Drumgoon Dairy in Lake Norden, South Dakota. 

The 6,500-cow dairy farm is expected to supply 1.66 million gallons of negative carbon-intensity RNG annually to the transportation market when at full capacity. 

Construction of the $38 million RNG digester project was completed in early-December 2023 and injection into the interstate natural gas pipeline system of the RNG began within weeks.

Clean Energy Reports 17% Growth in RNG Sales

The RNG produced at Drumgoon will be virtually stored until all pathways for federal and state environmental credits are approved, and a carbon-intensity score is assigned to the RNG, expected in the first half of 2024. 

“Completion of the RNG project at Drumgoon Dairy, along with several others that are right behind it, is already making a contribution to controlling harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Clay Corbus, senior vice president of renewables at Clean Energy. “Being a multi-generational operation, Drumgoon’s owners are always thinking about the future, whether it’s bringing in the latest technology to better track and monitor their cows, or transforming their herd to antibiotic-free. Adding a RNG digester that captures the methane produced by Drumgoon’s cows and turning it into a clean fuel is the ultimate recycling project.” 

Drumgoon Dairy's RNG Project Lowers Agricultural Emissions

The funding for the Drumgoon Dairy RNG project came from Clean Energy's collaboration with bp, in partnership with Dynamic Renewables. This initiative is part of a series of RNG projects jointly undertaken by the three companies at dairies in the Midwest.

All the generated RNG at Drumgoon will be accessible through Clean Energy's fueling infrastructure. In the first nine months of 2023, Clean Energy experienced a 17% growth in RNG sales to the transportation market compared to the same period in 2022. With clients such as UPS, Republic Services, LA Metro, Knight Swift, Amazon, and others, there is an anticipated expansion in demand for this environmentally friendly fuel.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture contributes to almost 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while the transportation sector adds another 28%. The capture of methane from farm waste plays a crucial role in reducing these emissions.

RNG, derived from the collected methane and utilized as a transportation fuel, significantly diminishes GHG emissions throughout its lifecycle compared to diesel.

This unique characteristic allows RNG to attain a negative carbon-intensity score, reflecting the reduction of emissions both at the source and during vehicle usage.

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