Aemetis Inc. announced on Dec. 26 that its subsidiary, Aemetis Biogas LLC, closed a $30 million equity investment and funded the first $8.3 million tranche to Aemetis Biogas to build, own and operate dairy biomethane digesters, pipelines and gas cleanup/compression facilities primarily under 20-year agreements with dairy farms in California.
Dairies produce about 25% of California’s methane emissions and have become targets of carbon regulations aimed at reducing climate change, Aemetis said. With a carbon intensity under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard of about -300, dairy biomethane is highly valuable but needs to be collected at the dairy, pipelined to a central processing facility, cleaned and compressed for use as renewable natural gas (RNG) in converted diesel trucks and other natural gas vehicles, the company explained.
The project will initially connect about a dozen dairies to Aemetis’ ethanol plant in Keyes, Cal., with expansion plans to more than three dozen dairies in the local area. The Aemetis plant also supplies wet distillers grain feed to about 100 dairies.
“Dairy biogas is a below-zero-carbon biofuel that is a new source of revenue for dairies, which do not currently have a way to monetize their biomethane as a transportation fuel without the necessary pipeline and gas cleanup/compression infrastructure as well as a customer that can use biogas to produce low carbon biofuels. Our 60 million gal. ethanol plant is capable of using biogas to replace petroleum natural gas to produce a lower-carbon biofuel and generate additional Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits,” Aemetis chairman and chief executive officer Eric McAfee said. “Since utilities in California have not yet completed the permitting and other requirements for injection of dairy biomethane into natural gas pipelines, collecting and converting biogas for use in ethanol production provides Aemetis a sustainable first-mover advantage in biogas pipeline and dairy digester construction for dairies in the area around our Keyes plant.”
The equity funding of Aemetis Biogas was provided by Protair-X Americas, an environmental investment unit of Protair-X Technologies in Canada, which has extensive experience in protecting livestock farming environments. Aemetis’ senior lender, Third Eye Capital, is a major investor in Protair-X Technologies.
Headquartered in Cupertino, Cal., Aemetis is an advanced renewable fuel and biochemical company focused on the production of advanced fuels and chemicals through the acquisition, development and commercialization of innovative technologies that replace traditional petroleum-based products by conversion of first-generation ethanol and biodiesel plants into advanced biorefineries.
Besides the ethanol and wet distillers grain facility in Keyes, Aemetis owns and operates a renewable chemical and advanced fuel production facility with a capacity of 50 million gal. per year on the East Coast of India that produces high-quality distilled biodiesel and refined glycerin for customers in Europe and Asia.
Aemetis also operates a research and development laboratory and holds many granted patents on technology related to the production of renewable fuels and renewable chemicals.