Mass Energy Works, Clean Energy Fuels to build 9 dairy digesters in $130M venture

By Staff
2 Min Read

A leading developer of dairy biogas plants is teaming with the U.S.’ biggest renewable natural gas provider to build nine on-farm anaerobic digestion facilities.

Maas Energy Works, the nation’s largest dairy digester operator, said it will build production plants in seven states with $130 million in financing from RNG provider Clean Energy Fuels Corp. The projects, expected to be completed in 2026, will collect manure from a combined herd size of about 35,000 cows to convert into renewable fuel for heavy-duty trucks and buses.

The venture is expected to produce up to 4 million gallons annually of RNG a year, according to a release. Projects will include dairies in Colorado, South Dakota, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska and New Mexico.

“This joint venture is clear proof that family farms paired with private businesses are an unstopped force in achieving decarbonization,” Daryl Maas, CEO of Maas Energy Works, said in a statement. “If the markets for renewable fuels are clear and consistent, then [the] biogas industry will deliver.”

Maas Energy Works has built over 60 dairy digesters in the past decade. The company specializes in lagoon cover digesters, which use a large tarp to cover manure and capture methane emissions. The process makes the facilities “significantly less expensive to build and operate compared to tank digesters seen at other RNG plants,” the company said.

Major gas and oil giants have been quick to jump on anaerobic digestion as a potential pathway to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Biogas development is expected to grow further as the Biden administration makes more financial incentives available for producers.

However, the solution has remained controversial, with environmental groups saying the process is prone to spillage and encourages the proliferation of industrial agriculture. Some Democrats have pushed back against the designation of biogas as a “climate-smart” practice, saying funding should go toward other environmental priorities.

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