Brightmark has partnered with three Western Michigan farms on the latest in a series of biogas projects the company launched over the past two years. The Michigan farmers have signed agreements with Brightmark indicating their intent to provide the company with dairy manure from their herds that will serve as feedstock for new anaerobic digesters to be built on Beaver Creek Farm. The digesters will capture, extract, and clean the methane in the manure, then convert it into renewable natural gas and inject it into a nearby gas pipeline.
After the methane is extracted from the processed manure, the remaining materials will be transported to the Muskegon County Wastewater Management System where it will be processed alongside the county’s other wastewater. This partnership will allow the farms to reduce land application of manure and improve odor and nutrient management practices.
The farms participating in the Castor project are: Beaver Creek Farm (Coopersville, Ottawa County), Den Dulk Farm (Ravenna, Muskegon County), and River Ridge Farm (Coopersville, Ottawa County). Brightmark has designed the Castor project to have expansion capability, so future phases are planned.
Once the Castor project is fully operational in early 2022, it is anticipated to produce about 328,500 MMBtu of biomethane each year, making this Brightmark’s largest project to date. The company has partnered on biogas projects with 20 dairy farms in six states over the past two years. Once all of these projects are operational, Brightmark’s projects will generate enough renewable natural gas each year to drive 5,100 18-wheeler trucks from San Francisco to New York City.
“This renewable natural gas project will be a win-win for the community, the environment, and the farmers, who have the potential to significantly reduce their nutrient management costs. We are actively working with Ottawa County to obtain all the permits for this project and to make sure it we’re maximizing benefits to the local community and our farmer partners,” said Brightmark CEO Bob Powell.
Brightmark Vice President Craig Murphy, who is the lead developer for the Castor project, also commented, “As a Michigan native, it has been a great experience working with the local community, Muskegon County and the Muskegon County Wastewater Management System staff, who continue to be dedicated to finding new solutions to a common waste challenge. We look forward to working together for years to come.”
Research shows that when all climate benefits are considered together, biomethane from dairy manure can reduce greenhouse gas emissions 400% when it is used to replace traditional vehicle fuels.