Duke Energy teams with SustainRNG to develop renewable natural gas on dairy farms

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

SustainRNG expects to complete its first project in 2021. Pic: Duke Energy
SustainRNG expects to complete its first project in 2021. Pic: Duke Energy

Related tags Energy Sustainability Dairy

Duke Energy has announced a partnership with SustainRNG to harness renewable natural gas (RNG) on dairy farms, starting in the southeastern US.

Duke Energy has invested in a minority share of the company and retains the option to invest in future operating projects.

SustainRNG will engineer, finance, construct and operate RNG sites in collaboration with dairy farmers. By capturing and processing methane from farms into RNG, Duke Energy and SustainRNG will be able to provide a locally generated renewable energy source to end users nationwide via injection into the existing natural gas pipeline network.

Renewable natural gas is methane that has been captured from the breakdown of organic waste and processed to remove contaminants and meet natural gas pipeline quality standards. Trane Technologies invented the advanced methane generation technology and has exclusively licensed its system to SustainRNG for use in the agricultural sector. 

"Duke Energy is committed to supporting sustainable energy solutions, and our partnership with SustainRNG will bring more renewable natural gas into the market, which benefits both the environment and customers,"​ said Phillip Grigsby, Duke Energy's senior vice president of ventures and business development.

"In addition, these projects will create jobs, both in the construction and ongoing operation of the RNG facilities."

The RNG projects also will provide an additional revenue stream for farmers while simultaneously reducing their waste management liability.

"We are excited to be partnering with dairy farmers, who will be co-owners of the projects and have a stake in their success,"​ said SustainRNG CEO Michael Shore.

"Equally important, our projects will help farmers to be more sustainable locally and leverage the power of the agriculture sector to mitigate climate change."

The advanced technology employed in SustainRNG's projects uses specialized anaerobic digestion units, or parallel flow digesters, that stratify the flow of particles by size, facilitating the breakdown of the organic materials in manure. SustainRNG is initially targeting use of the technology to deploy digesters on dairy farms of 3,000 to 6,000 head that use water wash-down manure management, which is currently an underserved niche in the dairy digester market.

SustainRNG expects to complete its first project in 2021.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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