Gevo begins startup of RNG project in Iowa

By Keefe Borden15 February 2022

Holstein dairy cows feed at a farm in central Washington. (Photo: Reuters)

Gevo has begun the process of bringing its renewable gas project in northwest Iowa online. It expects the plant to produce 355,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas (RNG) annually once it is fully online by the end of the year.

“We’re excited to get NW Iowa RNG online, right on schedule,” said Chris Ryan, president and COO of Gevo. “Our team here has done a terrific job, creating a facility that will become an example of how renewable energy can work for years to come, and we’re excited to bring our partnership with area farmers to the next stage.”

Because dairy manure left in lagoons and used as fertilizer releases high levels of methane to the atmosphere, Gevo sees an opportunity to capture that methane as biogas and refine it to be used as renewable natural gas. Doing so has no impact of the fertilizer and nutrients available, yet creates more options to sustainably manage fertilizers for sustainable farming practices, the company said.

The company plans to sell the RNG into the California market under dispensing agreements BP has in place with Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the largest fueling infrastructure in the U.S. for RNG.

The facility is expected to lead to $9 million to $16 million a year of distributions from the project expected to begin in late 2022, or early 2023 depending on the timing of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), the company said.

Gevo said it expects NW Iowa RNG will benefit from environmental product revenues under California’s LCFS program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program. RNG-fueled vehicles are estimated to result in up to 95 percent lower emissions than those fueled by gasoline or diesel on a lifecycle basis, according to a US Department of Energy study .

“The farmers have demonstrated that they are willing to try something new,” Ryan said. “By creating a renewable energy source that reduces the greenhouse gas footprint of agriculture while providing meaningful renewable energy where its badly needed—that kind of foresight will make a difference in the long term far beyond Northwest Iowa.”

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