Aemetis, Inc. says it has received approval to build the last stages of a 39-mile biogas pipeline in Merced County. The company said in a June 6 statement that has completed 20 miles of the project and the work should be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022..
“Issuance of the Phase Two Pipeline permit and construction of the main pipeline in Merced County is a very significant milestone for the Aemetis Biogas RNG project,” Aemetis president Andy Foster said in a statement.
“California and Merced County recognize that the adoption of dairy biogas as a negative carbon intensity fuel to replace diesel in heavy trucks and buses is essential if we are to make strides to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. Aemetis continues to rapidly deploy the infrastructure necessary to connect our network of dairy digesters and increase the production of carbon negative dairy renewable natural gas.”
This project milestone allows the installation of biogas pipeline in Merced County for construction of a pipeline for a total of 39 miles from the Aemetis ethanol plant in Keyes to dairies in Stanislaus County and Merced counties. The pressurized pipeline conveys conditioned, pressurized biogas from dairies to the Company’s centralized gas cleanup facility and the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) interconnection system to inject renewable natural gas (RNG) into the gas utility pipeline.
At the Keyes plant, the biogas is upgraded to negative carbon intensity RNG for use as a transportation fuel in cars, trucks, and buses. The RNG is either delivered into the PG&E utility pipeline located onsite at the Aemetis ethanol plant, dispensed to trucks at fueling stations across California or at the RNG fueling station being built at the Aemetis plant.
Previously, Aemetis announced that it received approval for the biogas pipeline from the Merced County Board of Supervisors for the Phase Two pipeline, as well as an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the entire pipeline project, the key approval necessary to meet the permitting requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) prior to pipeline construction. The CEQA approval confirms that mitigation measures in the biogas project will avoid or mitigate any impacts on the environment.
The company completed the permitting for 20 miles of biogas pipeline in Stanislaus County in August 2021 to connect dairies to the Aemetis biogas cleanup facility at the ethanol facility. The initial four-mile Phase 1 pipeline project was completed and commissioned in the third quarter of 2020 in conjunction with the completion of the Company’s first two dairy digesters, and the 20 miles of Stanislaus County pipeline has now been completed. Additional pipeline will be added to connect digesters to the main biogas pipeline.
Once complete, the Aemetis biogas digesters and clean-up facility will produce more than 1.65 million MMBtu of RNG each year. Aemetis received a negative -426 Carbon Intensity pathway for biogas from the company’s first two dairy digesters, which is currently being utilized as process energy at the ethanol facility.
When built, the system will eliminate emissions from approximately 1 million cars per year and eliminate about 5 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year.
The pipeline project and the $12 million biogas cleanup facility are funded in part by a $4.2 million grant from the California Energy Commission.