FPU Renewables LLC on Feb. 21 announced plans to construct, own and operate a dairy manure renewable natural gas (RNG) facility at Full Circle Dairy in Madison County, Florida. FPU Renewables and its parent, Florida Public Utilities Co., are subsidiaries of Chesapeake Utilities Corp.
“Chesapeake Utilities is committed to being a leader in the transition to a lower-carbon future,” said Jeff Householder, president and CEO. “We continue to look for ways to displace more carbon-intensive fuels, and we’re working hard to develop waste-to-energy production facilities, and associated infrastructure, that improve agricultural conditions in Florida and other service areas. Collaborations such as the one with Full Circle Dairy are continuing to move both the energy and agricultural industries toward a more sustainable future.”
The project will capture and clean methane from manure generated by cows, producing 100,000 average dekatherms of RNG annually. The project represents a capital investment of $22 million, with the first injection of RNG projected to occur in 2024. Chesapeake Utilities is evaluating further investment opportunities to bring the RNG produced at the facility to market. Additionally, several offtake options for the RNG are under consideration.
Operating and milking cows since 2006, Full Circle Dairy shares Chesapeake Utilities’ commitment to sustainability. Today, the dairy recycles manure produced at the farm by using it as fertilizer in the fields that grow feed for the herd. The addition of a digester onsite at the farm advances Full Circle Dairy’s commitment by additionally decreasing methane and greenhouse gas emissions, creating an even more sustainable manure management system for the farm, and producing valuable pipeline quality RNG.
The project is estimated to capture and redirect approximately 1,116 metric tons (mt) of methane per year, which is 27,900 mt of carbon dioxide equivalent. Using the EPA greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, these numbers reflect a minimum greenhouse gas emissions reduction equivalent to 6,012 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year and CO2 emissions reduction equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 3,514 homes.
This dairy to RNG facility continues Chesapeake Utilities’ acceleration of RNG related investments, beginning with the Noble Road RNG pipeline project in Ohio; the acquisition of Planet Found Energy Development, LLC, a poultry waste to biogas pilot facility in Maryland; and the recent announcement of a RNG injection site in Nassau County, Florida.