UGI Corp. to date has announced five renewable natural gas project deals in New York State involving dairy farms, working with its joint-venture partner, Global Common Ventures LLC.
GCV in effect serves as UGI’s boots on the ground helping to design and develop said projects and also approaching farmers to partner with in the development of the fledgling RNG industry.
“We have a joint venture agreement with UGI to develop RNG projects in New York State,” said Robert Foxen, CEO of Global Common Ventures. “But if we put together other RNG deals outside New York, we will also bring them to UGI.”
Foxen will be a primary speaker at the first Appalachian RNG Conference, set for April 19, 2023, at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe. The one-day conference is being produced by ShaleDirectories.com and the H2-CCS Network.
“Global Common’s projects and partnership with UGI will provide Conference attendees a view into the future of RNG” said Tom Gellrich CEO and Founder H2-CSS Network. “with the rapid growth of RNG projects creating a partnership framework to efficiently develop multiple projects simultaneously is becoming a core requirement.”
RNG is natural gas, i.e., methane, from renewable sources such as landfills, wastewater treatment plants, livestock farms, even restaurant food waste.
Use of RNG can provide benefits in terms of fuel security, economic revenue or savings, improved local air quality and reductions of highly toxic greenhouse gas emissions.
Generation of RNG avoids emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with warming potential 25–34 times greater than carbon dioxide, according to University of Utah data. Avoidance of methane emissions gives RNG a negative carbon intensity.
Working with farmers to secure their livestock waste to convert into RNG can be tough sledding. Fiercely independent and usually slow in embracing radical new operational ways, farmers are a very close-knit group.
GCV has gained the trust of the farming community, thus far working in New York State with single farms. Projects range in price from $10 million to $100 million, according to Foxen.
“We are looking at developing multi-farm deals. In a state like Pennsylvania, which has numerous small single-family farms, we are working on aggregating single farms to gain needed size.”
Foxen said while his company has a great deal of RNG project development centered around livestock waste, it’s looking to do deals involving industrial waste and even food waste.
“We are interested in wastewater sludges, virtually any high strength industrial waste is a candidate for developing RNG,” according to Foxen.
Food waste also is a prime candidate for RNG development. Reducing food waste presents opportunities to address climate change, increase food security, productivity and economic efficiency, and conserve energy and other resources, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In the U.S., 30%-40% of the food supply is never eaten. Food waste is the single most common material landfilled and incinerated in the U.S., according to the EPA.
More than 85% of greenhouse gas emissions from landfilled food waste result from activities prior to disposal, including production, transport, processing, and distribution.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA announced the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction goal of cutting food loss and waste in half by 2030.