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Duke energy takes minority stake in renewable natural gas company, SustainRNG

Credit: Photo by Michael Pujals on Unsplash

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

Duke Energy invested in a minority share of the company and retains the option to invest in future operating projects; however, the terms of the overall transaction were not disclosed.

SustainRNG will engineer, finance, construct and operate RNG sites alongside dairy farmers. By capturing and processing methane from farms into RNG, the companies aim to provide a locally generated renewable energy source via injection into the existing natural gas pipeline network.

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

RNG 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 technology to SustainRNG for use in agriculture.

The technology 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 will use 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. 

“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 Chief Executive Officer 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.”

Phillip Grigsby, Duke Energy’s senior vice president of ventures and business development, added, “In addition, these projects will create jobs, both in the construction and ongoing operation of the RNG facilities.”