California Bioenergy (CalBio) – Covered Lagoon Digester
Helping Dairies Fuel a Renewable Future
About the Company:
California Bioenergy (CalBio) converts biomass at dairy farms into a clean and storable renewable energy source with valuable co-products and co-benefits. CalBio partnera with California dairy farmers to finance, develop and operate projects that turn dairy manure into energy – electricity, biomethane or fuel. The projects generate multiple benefits for the farm and the community.
About the Solution:
California Bioenergy develops, owns, and operates projects in partnership with the dairy farmer. The projects capture and destroy methane produced from dairy cow waste, creating renewable electricity, bio-methane or transportation fuel and in the process greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
CalBio's process consists of four main steps:
- Waste Collection
- Gas Capture
- Offset Creation
- Renewable Electricity/Fuel Production
Solution Strengths, Weaknesses and Critical Indicators
- Long usable life and can be run reliably
- Creates energy and generates environmental credits
- Proper feeding & system monitoring is required to avoid system downtime
- Proven technology for odor control
- Proven technology for GHG reduction
- Proven technology for pathogen reduction
- Different types of systems produce varying gas production rates
- Requires proper preparation of the feedstock
- Requires other technologies for energy utilization
- Requires other technologies for digestate handling
- Requires other technologies to prevent nitrogen loss
- Complex systems may require expertise not available on-farm
California Bioenergy LLC (CalBio) is a project developer in California that is working with the dairy community to develop large scale anaerobic digestion projects utilizing covered lagoon digesters. CalBio currently has one digester producing electricity in Kern County CA and is working on a renewable natural gas model for several other dairies in that area.
The economics of the covered lagoon digester in a climate like California are intriguing. The capital cost and operating cost are much lower than those of complete mix and mixed plug flow digesters but the gas production per cow per day is also lower than that of other systems. The utilization of this technology with other nutrient recovery and recyclable water technology seems to represent a significant opportunity in this region.
Newtrient has had contact with CalBio regarding the status and the progress of their projects. At this time there is limited information available regarding specific costs and business structure of the individual projects. CalBio has shared a strong commitment to the dairy industry and the need to keep the revenue produced by their projects as close to this industry as possible. Newtrient fully supports this commitment and commends this type of partnering to bring value to the dairy industry.
1. OPERATIONAL HISTORY