Roeslein Alternative Energy: RNG output not impacted by COVID-19

By Erin Voegele | April 10, 2020

Roeslein Alternative Energy Inc. is continuing operations and does not currently expect the COVID-19 pandemic to have a significant impact on its current renewable natural gas (RNG) production capabilities.

Brandon Butler, director of communications at Roeslein Alternative Energy, said the company is taking several precautions to ensure its employees remain safe and RNG production continues.

Roeslein Alternative Energy is a sister company to Roeslein & Associates, which is a global leader in engineering, fabrication and installation of process systems serving the aluminum can industry that services the food and beverage industry. Both companies are both deemed essential due to their respective work in the energy and food sectors.

“Leadership of both Roeslein companies has been working hand-in-hand to make sure our global workforce is safe,” Butler said, noting the company worked hard to make sure international employees returned home as the pandemic began to impact communities around the globe.

The company has transitioned to remote work where possible. “Everybody who can work from home is working from home,” Butler said. RNG production also requires that some workers remain in the field. Those employees are taking every precaution to stay safe, Butler said. “Safety measures have been put in place to make sure nobody is doing anything that would be deemed dangerous alone or without somebody in close proximity, but we are taking social distancing very seriously,” he added.

Butler said Rudi Roeslein, the founder of both companies, released a video to employees on April 8 mandating that employees follow not only the company’s rules, but also local, state and federal guidelines

“Speaking as an employee, I couldn’t be more proud about the way the leadership of our company has handled this, and fortunately we aren’t seeing any real reduction in production of our products,” Butler said. “We’re still constructing facilities for aluminum can manufacturing and we are still preparing for gas season to take off. Our RNG is created through anaerobic digestion which doesn’t really occur in the lagoons that we’re capturing our methane from if the temperature of that water is below 60 degrees. So, we’re just now getting to the point where we are starting to produce gas. Thankfully a lot of the infrastructure work had been done ahead of time.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of upheaval in the U.S., Butler stressed it won’t stop livestock from making manure. “We’re going to have a supply of material, and we’ll be able to turn that material into RNG.”

Roeslein Alternative Energy is currently producing RNG at five farms in north Missouri. To date, the company has built to pipelines that interconnect with the natural gas grid. As a result, two of the farms don’t have to transport the RNG they produce offsite in order for it to be injected into the pipeline. The other farms do have to truck the RNG to the interconnect through a virtual pipeline, Butler said, but noted it’s a one-man operation to fill the trucks and transport the RNG to the pipeline.

To date, Butler said he’s not aware of any market fluctuations that would impact demand for Roeslein’s RNG. The company sells its product into the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Market.

While company operations seem unlikely to be severely impacted by COVID-19, Bulter said the company’s lobbying efforts might be. State legislatures are largely shut down and working only on essential issues right now. “We’ve been working on some bills that were RNG positive, but it looks like those will just have to be shelved until next year,” he said.

“We hope that everyone out there is involved in the [RNG] industry is taking precautions and being safe,” Butler added. “We look forward to getting past this and coming back as an industry stronger and better than ever.”