The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) announced today the winner of its 2nd California Dairy Sustainability Award – Calgren Dairy Fuels, LLC. – in recognition of its partnership with Maas Energy Works, Inc. to create a 22-mile dairy digester pipeline cluster to efficiently collect dairy biogas from California dairy farm partners and upgrade and inject it into a utility pipeline owned by Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas).
The award was presented by CMAB during the 3rd California Dairy Sustainability Summit, in partnership with the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) and California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP). The Calgren project was the first in California to upgrade dairy biogas for utility pipeline injection and the largest collective dairy biogas operation in the U.S.15 California family dairy farms are participating in the first phase of the project, which makes compressed natural gas available as fuel for heavy duty trucks, replacing diesel – effectively removing 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gases from the environment and displacing more than 23 million gallons of fossil fuel-based transportation fuel annually.
“Projects like the Calgren Dairy Fuels cluster project demonstrate how powerful partnerships can be in moving the needle on our sustainability goals as an industry. We’re very proud of the efforts of Calgren Dairy Fuels, Maas Energy, and the California dairy farm families who have made tremendous progress in reducing their environmental footprint through planet-smart farming practices,” said John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB.
“We congratulate Calgren Dairy Fuels, Mass Energy Works and their dairy farm partners in the development of this tremendous project and receipt of this award. Their project truly highlights the environmental sustainability progress and benefits that can be achieved through cross sector partnerships. It assists the dairy industry as well as the state in meeting challenging methane reduction targets,” said Denise Mullinax, Executive Director, California Dairy Research Foundation. “We look forward to additional innovative projects as California continues to lead the nation in sustainable dairy production.”
Calgren Dairy Fuels’ 22-plus miles of underground pipeline link 12 dairies that send biogas from on-farm digesters – and two additional dairies that haul biomethane via tube trailers – to its centralized conditioning facility in Pixley, Calif. An additional dairy supplies manure slurry to a digester at the Calgren conditioning facility for biogas production. After upgrading this dairy biogas, Calgren injects it into a utility pipeline owned by SoCalGas – the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility. This dairy-sourced renewable compressed natural gas (R-CNG) is made available as fuel for heavy duty trucks, replacing 3 million gallons of existing fossil-fuel diesel with near-zero emissions from CNG engines.
Each year, 150,000 tons of (CO2e) greenhouse gasses are captured from more than 70,000 cows and heifers. Additionally, more than 75 full-time equivalent jobs have been supported, and more than 18 miles of additional pipeline are under construction to double the number of dairies in the cluster.
“We appreciate the recognition and support for this dairy cluster project that is not only letting us back out of fossil fuel but also avoid methane that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere.” said Lyle Schlyer, president of Calgren Renewable Fuels. “We’re bringing our 16th cluster connected dairy online with several more right around the corner. We are also injecting trucked biomethane from an additional three dairies, with more trucked projects to come online.”
California is the nation’s leading milk producer, and makes more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. California is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made with milk from the state’s dairy farm families.
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s dairy farm families who lead the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. With a vision to nourish the world with the wholesome goodness of Real California Milk, the CMAB’s programs focus on increasing demand for California’s sustainable dairy products in the state, across the U.S. and around the world through advertising, public relations, research, and retail and foodservice promotional programs. For more information and to connect with the CMAB, visit RealCaliforniaMilk.com, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
CDRF is an independent nonprofit public benefit foundation whose mission is to lead and deliver the best research and science-based educational and outreach programs to support an innovative and sustainable California dairy industry. CDRF’s major funder is CMAB, though CDRF works in close collaboration with others in the dairy industry to leverage California dairy checkoff dollars with co-funding opportunities.
CDQAP is a collaborative partnership between the dairy industry, academia, government agencies and others to promote the health of consumers, the environment, and the health and welfare of dairy animals through educational workshops, monthly newsletters and other direct outreach. The program also provides third-party certification in Environmental Stewardship through its on-farm evaluation and certification program. The CDQAP program is funded by the California Dairy Research Foundation.