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Dairy Biogas Plan / Making Solar Steam

Hanford Forum Discusses Dairy Biogas Plan

June 22,2017-

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 12.57.55 PMCalifornia Division of Food & Agriculture will soon award between $29 million and $36 million for the installation of dairy digesters in California that they say, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Existing milk producers and dairy digester developers can apply for funding of up to $3 million per project for anaerobic digestion projects that provide quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions. The program requires a minimum of 50 percent of total project cost as matching funds.

One developer, Maas Energy Works, is holding a community meeting June 8 to discuss a Kings County project that could pipe biogas from 5 to 6 dairies to a central digester – then be injected in the SoCal gas pipeline as renewable natural gas. The meeting will happen Thursday at 6 PM at the Comfort Inn Sierra Room in Hanford. Founder Daryl Mass expects to lay out a plan to be done in phases, starting with two local dairies he would help build a digester at their ranches if their projects are funded through CDFA. Applications and all supporting information must be submitted by June 28. Awards will likely be announced by September and Maas expects some projects could be online by the end of the year.

Digesters cut methane emissions from lagoons and are typically used to generate electricity at the farm. Using the gas to make renewable biogas for transportation fuel may pay more although there is “more risk” adds Maas. But the payoff could be good for the bottom line. Renewable biogas sells for 5X to 9X as much as natural gas, says Maas. His group is also doing a parallel project in Tulare County that includes as many as 11 dairies who are planning to pipe gas to a Hwy 99 ethanol plant to used there.Mass has helped several Kings dairies build digesters. At least one other local developer is working with dairies to do a similar plan.

CDFA  is offering the funding after legislative mandates were passed to have California dairies cut their methane emissions in a move too help air quality.



Solar Technology May Cut Local Food Processor Fuel Costs 

Sunvapor and Horizon Nut announced this spring that they are teaming up to demonstrate new technology that transforms solar energy into heat that can be used for all of the food industry’s needs like steam pasteurization, drying, blanching, cleaning, and roasting. The technology is said to be cost competitive with natural gas and will cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The project, now under construction near Firebaugh, is funded under the second phase of a $2.2 million U. S. Department of Energy “SunShot” award at Horizon Nut’s pistachio processing plant.This month, the California Energy Commission also promised $150,000 toward the cost of the demonstration.

“We are very eager to find a renewable alternative to fossil fuels so that we can produce more and save money. Expanding production, which is limited by emissions, is important to the economy of the region which suffers from low employment” said Andrew Howe, Director of Operations and General Manager of Horizon Nut.

California State Assemblyman Jim Patterson says “This is exactly the kind of breakthrough we need: technology, once it is mature, that can stand on its own without government subsidies. The opportunity to build a solar steam economy in the region has the potential to create thousands of good jobs and improve the air quality.”

The state grant will demonstrate a patent-pending solar collector that disruptively reduces the cost of solar steam by prototyping and testing in real world conditions at the Horizon Nut processing plant. They are redesigning the parabolic trough collector by using low-cost, high strength, low- embodied energy, self-assembled, biodegradable, fiber-reinforced materials, instead of steel in the construction of the Parabolic Trough Collector.

SunVapor says the technology can cut the average cost of fuel from $8/$9 dollars per thousand cubic feet for industrial customers in the state to about $6 using their solar technology.

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