Aemetis hosts California ag secretary at biorefinery, RNG sites

By Aemetis Inc. | February 21, 2023

Aemetis Inc., a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company focused on negative carbon intensity products, announced on Feb. 12 that it hosted California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross for a discussion and site tours of the company’s renewable biofuel and dairy-based renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities on Feb. 9, 2023.  Former CDFA and USDA Secretary Ann Veneman, Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa, and other dignitaries joined the tour and discussion of the company’s vision and leadership regarding the creation of a Circular Bioeconomy in California’s Central Valley that couples the production of low or below zero carbon intensity (CI) renewable fuels with the region’s abundant agricultural waste and by-products.

The visit was organized in conjunction with the Stanislaus 2030 regional economic development initiative and BEAM Circular, a new hub for the circular bioeconomy in the North San Joaquin Valley, which seeks to align the region’s strengths in agriculture and manufacturing with a growing worldwide demand for bio-based products to increase local economic opportunity and address the urgent need for climate action. Aemetis is supporting this community initiative through engagement in the North San Joaquin Valley Bioindustrial Manufacturing Innovation Engine, a coalition of state and local partners that aims to advance high-impact solutions for manufacturing sustainable bio-based products at scale.

“Aemetis offers a very compelling circular bioeconomy vision that can serve as an effective template for companies and organizations in the Northern San Joaquin Valley,” said Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  “From operating dairy digesters to produce RNG or utilizing renewable feedstocks for the production of biofuels, Aemetis is demonstrating opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spur economic development by leveraging the region’s strong agricultural and manufacturing assets,” Ross added.

“We strongly support the outstanding work that Secretary Ross has done at CDFA to promote agriculture’s central role in addressing global warming, coupled with the advancement of policies and programs that private sector companies such as Aemetis can utilize to meet California’s aggressive decarbonization goals,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, Inc.

In 2021, Aemetis announced a multi-tiered circular bioeconomic strategy that incorporates diverted agricultural waste and residues for the production of RNG, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), renewable diesel (RD), and cellulosic ethanol.

About 25 percent of the methane emissions in California are emitted from dairy waste lagoons. When fully built, the Aemetis biogas to RNG project plans to connect dairy digesters spanning approximately 60 dairy farms, capturing more than 1.65 MMBtu of dairy methane each year. The fully operational project is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to an estimated 6.8 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide over ten years.

Aemetis is also in the final detailed engineering phase of constructing a 90 million gallon per year sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel production facility, which is designed to be built at the 125-acre former U.S. Army Ammunition plant site, now known as the Riverbank Industrial Complex, in nearby Riverbank, California.  Powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, the Aemetis Carbon Zero production plant design utilizes renewable hydrogen. The renewable hydrogen is used to hydrotreat renewable oils to produce renewable aviation and diesel fuel to fulfill $7 billion of aviation and diesel contracts signed with ten airlines and a major travel stop company.

Aemetis is also expected to utilize sugar extracted from local orchard wood waste in the production of advanced cellulosic ethanol at the Keyes plant.

To further reduce carbon intensity, the Aemetis Carbon Zero design includes capturing CO2 from the production plant and injecting the compressed CO2 into a sequestration well at the Riverbank site.  The project is designed to permanently store an estimated 300,000 metric tonnes of CO2 each year from the plant and an additional 1 million MT of CO2 from other sources in California.