Biogas powers amusement park ride

By Bryan Sims
Web exclusive posted August 20, 2008 at 3:15 p.m. CST

Horsepower is taking a backseat to cow power at the California State Fair in Sacramento, Calif., which features the first children's amusement ride in the state to be entirely powered by biogas produced from cow manure.

California utility power company Pacific Gas & Electric and Bakersfield, Calif.-based biogas producer BioEnergy Solutions are partnering to power the children's "Barnyard Animal Train" ride with renewable biogas, made from California dairy cows. The ride is owned by Ray Cammack Shows and is located in the Kaiser Permanente Kids Park at the fair.

Biogas is produced by the anaerobic digestion or fermentation of organic material, such as cow manure, but it can also be made from any biodegradable waste.

BioEnergy Solutions is supplying the biogas from its operating Vintage Dairy Digester in Riverdale, Calif. The biogas was delivered as "upgraded biomethane gas" on a tanker truck by Pacific Gas & Electric on Aug. 15, according to BioEnergy Solutions President and Chief Executive Officer David R. Albers. The companies have a mutual working relationship in California – Pacific Gas & Electric has a power purchase agreement with BioEnergy Solutions to buy its pipeline quality biogas for conversion into renewable electricity and power.

"Pacific Gas & Electric has been a terrific supporter," Albers said. "We're happy to promote [biogas] for our partners and their promotional users."

Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric and BioEnergy Solutions will provide informative exhibits of how BioEnergy Solution's biogas is produced, generated and applied to promote the benefits of renewable energy to children and the general public.

"Powering a children's ride at the state fair with biogas is a celebration of the great efforts of California's dairy farmers to help us meet our energy needs," said Pacific Gas & Electric Vice President of Gas Transmission and Distribution Robert T. Howard. "We're proud to partner with these innovative dairy farmers and demonstrate the potential for the state's agriculture and power sectors to work together to meet California's climate goals."

The exhibit and ride began Aug. 15 and will continue through Sept. 1.

For more information on Pacific Gas & Electric, visit For more information on BioEnergy Solutions, visit For more information on the California State Fair, visit