BioEnergy to build biogas distribution network

By Anna Austin
Web exclusive posted Nov. 21, 2008 at 10:11 a.m. CST

California-based BioEnergy Solutions announced Nov. 18 that the Kern County Board of Supervisors had approved the construction of a biogas distribution network in eastern Kern County, Calif., which is located in the Central Valley of southern California.

According to the company, the network is the first of its kind to be approved by a government authority in the United States.

Biogas from cow manure will be produced to power area homes. BioEnergy will construct an underground pipeline which will link as many as nine dairy farms in the county. The methane gas from the farms will be captured and transported through the pipeline to a purification facility located at Vermeer and Goedhard Dairy in Shafter, Calif. The gas will then be upgraded to utility standard natural gas and delivered to Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s nearby pipeline for energy production.

To date, BioEnergy said three dairy farms have agreed to supply biogas to the network. The combined herd of 6,500 dairy cows is expected to produce 615,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day, enough to power 3,000 homes.

When the nine-farm network is completed, BioEnergy said it may include as many as 26,700 cows to produce enough natural gas to power 12,000 homes.

Construction of the project is slated to begin early 2009. BioEnergy spokesman Steve Duchesne told Biomass Magazine that the company expects to have gas flowing in the third quarter of 2009.

Duchesne said BioEnergy hasn't publicized specific cost estimates for the Kern County project. "Although generally, the capital investment required to get a farm equipped with a digester and the other necessary infrastructure can be upwards of $1 million," he added.

BioEnergy recently completed its first biogas project at Vintage Dairy in western Fresno County, Calif., which is producing 175,000 cubic feet of natural gas to power 1,200 homes. A neighboring farm has also agreed to supply biogas, which will power an additional 1,300 homes.

To learn more about BioEnergy Solutions, visit