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Greater Commercial Lending Completes $25MM in Financing for Dairy Farm Biogas Digesters and Pipeline

October 10, 2022, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Specialty Industries

Greater Commercial Lending (GCL), which provides loans to businesses and organizations in under-served and rural communities, has completed $25 million in long-term financing to help develop and build dairy biogas digesters and a biogas pipeline for the Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy Digester Project located in Stanislaus County, California. The financing has been arranged as a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Methane digesters are systems that promote the decomposition of organic matter, including animal manure, food wastes and wastewater biosolids, into renewable fuels to replace petroleum products. The Aemetis biogas project is a collection of anerobic digesters at dairy farm lagoons that utilize waste animal manure to generate renewable methane gas to produce renewable natural gas (RNG).

The construction and testing of six dairy biogas digesters is scheduled for completion in Q1 2023. A biogas pipeline connects the dairies to the Aemetis Keyes ethanol plant, where the biogas is converted to a low-carbon transportation fuel. In addition to using the RNG at the Aemetis ethanol plant and planned onsite fueling station, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) will deliver the transportation fuel via gas pipeline throughout California for sale to customers.

"We are thrilled to be involved in this project, which is advancing a pioneering solution to a real-world issue. We truly believe efforts like this need to be brought to market, and government-backed loans can be a low-cost and long-term financing source for these important projects," said Jeremy Gilpin, executive vice president of GCL. GCL is one of the largest providers of USDA government-guaranteed loans. "The Aemetis team has a proven track record in promoting cutting-edge technologies in renewable fuels."

"Government-guaranteed loans, such as those through USDA REAP, can be crucial in getting new and innovative projects such as the Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy project built. With GCL's support, we've continued to expand the number of digesters which capture methane emissions from dairy farms and convert the methane into a negative carbon renewable fuel," said Eric McAfee, CEO and founder of Aemetis, Inc., based in Cupertino, California.

About 25% of the methane emissions in California are emitted from dairy waste lagoons. When fully built, the Aemetis biogas project plans to connect dairy digesters spanning 66 dairy farms across a 40-mile pipeline, capturing more than 1.65 MMBtu of dairy methane each year. The project is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to an estimated 6.8 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide over 10 years, equal to removing the emissions from approximately 150,000 cars per year.

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