Brightmark, a global waste solutions provider, on Nov. 13 broke ground on The Sobek Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) project, which includes the construction of new anaerobic digesters at two Larson family dairy farms in Okeechobee County, Fla. The farms are owned by Larson Dairy, Inc. and JM Larson, Inc.
Upon completion of the project, the digesters are anticipated to generate about 171,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas each year. The gas will be delivered into the TECO People Gas pipeline system. The project is part of the recently announced joint venture, Brightmark RNG Holdings LLC, a Brightmark platform in partnership with Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
Brightmark developed the project and now, through the JV with Chevron, will own and operate it once construction is complete in 2021. When fully operational, the benefits of the Sobek RNG project include offsetting 57,400 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year and generating 469 MMBtu of renewable gas per day.
“We are thrilled to partner with Larson Dairy Farms and JM Larson Farms to build and operate carbon negative RNG projects Florida and deliver environmental and economic benefits to Okeechobee County,” said Bob Powell, founder and chief executive officer of Brightmark. “These projects advance our mission of reimagining waste into new parts of the country while supporting local communities with innovative solutions that produce clean fuels, reduce GHG emissions and provide new sources of income to farmers.”
“Brightmark has been a good partner in the development of this project. We are glad the technology and economics are coming together to support our environmental and sustainability goals,” said Woody Larson, participating farmer. “Cows are the ultimate recyclers, creating wholesome milk from byproducts of the citrus, ethanol, brewing and textile industries. This technology now also allows us to convert manure to energy and improve the environment.”
Anaerobic digestion systems can prevent significant quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere. Research shows that when all climate benefits are considered together, RNG from dairy manure can reduce greenhouse gas emissions 400 per cent when it is used to replace traditional vehicle fuels through this net carbon-negative process. These projects will reduce the net greenhouse gas emissions from the manure processed at this facility at a rate of 55,000 metric tons of CO2e per year, which is equivalent to planting 72,000 acres of forest each year. After the methane is extracted from the processed manure, the remaining soil nutrients will be returned to the farmers for use as fertilizer and water for forage crops for their cows. These partnerships will allow the farms to reduce land application of raw manure and improve odour, water quality and nutrient management practices.