Can Dairy Methane Digesters Reach Widespread Adoption?
An increasing number of dairies in the U.S. are adding methane digesters to their operation to turn manure into renewable natural gas. High Plains Ponderosa Dairy has partnered with Shell Oil for their digester, and CEO Greg Bethard says it’s really an exciting opportunity.
Bethard… “The manure on our dairy when we put it in our lagoon, it was making methane already. And the methane was just leaving our lagoon and going up into the atmosphere. And now, instead of doing that, we essentially grab that methane and power a vehicle before that carbon makes its eventual trip up to the atmosphere.”
But not all dairies are going to be as well-positioned for digesters depending on their size and location.
Bethard… “The value in the market for this gas right now is primarily California. So, you know, when you get to the east coast and you're further away. And then these projects require a certain size and scale of the dairy. So a very small dairy would not have enough manure to justify investment in a digester.”
But Bethard sees more and more opportunities for this technology in the future.
Bethard… “Over time, the programs that monetize the carbon value of the methane that you're producing as those spread across the country, I think more and more dairies are gonna have an opportunity.”
Bethard sees more states following California’s lead to develop renewable energy incentives.