TC Energy Corp. has announced it will invest $29.3 million in a facility that will use a byproduct from the famed Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. to make renewable natural gas.
The facility, owned by Lynchburg Renewable Fuels LLC and being developed by 3 Rivers Energy Partners LLC, will break down the byproduct from the whiskey distilling process to generate methane gases recovered as biogas.
A biogas upgrade plant will then remove contaminants to produce pipeline-quality renewable natural gas that will be directly connected to a local natural gas utility. Liquid fertilizer will also be produced in the process, and then stored and distributed to meet local agricultural demand.
Renewable natural gas, or RNG, is a non-fossil fuel form of natural gas that is generating a great deal of interest as concerns about climate change intensify.
According to the World Biogas Association, organic waste from food production, food waste, farming, landfill and wastewater treatment are responsible for about 25 per cent of human-caused global emissions of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
But it’s possible to harness the methane from waste to create an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional natural gas that can be used for home heating, cooking, and even fuelling vehicles.
In fact, TC Energy — which will market 100 per cent of the RNG produced at the Jack Daniel’s facility — has been transporting renewable fuels since 2002, with the current capacity to move over 30 billion cubic feet annually through 17 interconnects across its pipeline network.
However, the Jack Daniels facility marks the company’s first investment in the production of RNG. TC Energy and 3 Rivers Energy Partners have also committed to jointly develop future renewable natural gas projects.
In the past year, there has been a flurry of renewable natural gas project announcements from Canadian energy and utility companies eager to lower their carbon footprint.
For example, ATCO Energy Solutions is currently building its first RNG facility near Vegreville, Alta., and will be using a combination of local feedlot manure as well as municipal green bin waste as feedstocks.
Enbridge Inc., along with partner Vanguard Renewables, has announced plans to build eight RNG facilities across the U.S., while Suncor Energy Inc. has decided to sell off its wind and solar assets in favour of focusing on hydrogen and renewable natural gas instead.
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