Fortistar and Paloma Dairy begin construction of renewable natural gas facility

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The new facility will produce 1.6m gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of vehicle fuel annually.  Pic: Getty Images/alexskopje
The new facility will produce 1.6m gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of vehicle fuel annually. Pic: Getty Images/alexskopje

Related tags Natural gas Gas Renewable energy

Investment company Fortistar and Paloma Dairy have announced the beginning of construction on a dairy digester renewable natural gas (RNG) facility, the Sunoma Renewable Biofuel Project.

The new facility will produce 1.6m gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of vehicle fuel annually for the Class 8 trucking sector—enough fuel to move 10m miles of freight.

The project will boost the local economy with 50 construction jobs and six permanent positions in Gila Bend, Arizona. The project continues a renewable fuels growth strategy at Fortistar designed to help businesses and public agencies reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a solution that also saves them money. TruStar Energy, a Fortistar portfolio company and developer of natural gas fueling stations, will market and deliver the RNG fuel.

“This one project will help provide solutions for two important American industries. We are using our expertise to create new revenue streams for dairies while capturing methane and re-purposing it to ​decarbonize the transportation sector,” said Mark Comora, president of Fortistar.

“We are excited about partnering with the Van Hofwegen family on the Sunoma Renewable Biofuel Project to create the lowest carbon transportation fuel on the market.”

Robert Van Hofwegen Sr., patriarch of the Paloma Dairy family business, said, “We saw a great environmental and economic opportunity in the management of our manure and emissions. The key was finding a partner that could execute and unlock the potential value. We believe we found that partner in Fortistar and we look forward to working with them on this most exciting project.”

Paloma Dairy is owned by the Van Hofwegen family, a fourth-generation dairy farm family in Gila Bend, AZ. In addition to more than 10,000 animals, the farm produces cow feed via alfalfa, corn silage, wheat and barley across 7,000 acres of farmland.

Montrose Water and Sustainability Services, a division of Montrose Environmental Group, completed design and engineering for the project as well as equipment procurement. Montrose will provide construction oversight, along with start-up and commissioning support for the project. Industrial Services Company (ISC) will lead the building of the system.

The project will be interconnected with Southwest Gas Company who will also purchase the gas. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits will be sold to Chevron under a long-term agreement. Initial project development was performed by Black Bear Environmental Assets Advisors. Financing was provided by Live Oak Bank.

The Sunoma Renewable Biofuels Project is the third of 12 new Fortistar RNG projects totaling nearly $500m in capital that Fortistar expects to begin over the next year.

These new projects will help produce 120m GGE of RNG over the next three years and reduce US transportation emissions by 2m metric tons of CO2​ annually.

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