Landmark farm project uses XEBEC’s gas purification system to deliver pipeline-grade natural gas to Michigan Gas Utilities customers case study


Courtesy of Xebec Adsorption Inc.

Fennville Biogas Project at a Glance:
Type: Animal waste to pipeline-grade natural gas and electricity generation
Claim to fame: First commercial facility in North America to generate both pipeline-grade methane and electricity from animal waste
Location: Scenic View Dairy, Fennville, Michigan
Animal waste received annually: 25 million gallons
Electricity generated: Average of 4.5 million kilowatt-hours per year
Natural gas distribution: 2,000 Michigan Gas Utilities customers
Incentives: Federal Rural Development Grant of $474,088 in 2005; Carbon equivalents traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange are estimated at $120,000 per year
Gas purification system of choice: XEBEC's M-3200 PSA system

Making Money from Manure
Scenic View Dairy in Fennville, Michigan has tackled unpredictable energy prices by becoming a diversified energy producer The farm, with 3,450 head of cattle, uses a simple, efficient system to create electricity and renewable natural gas from biogas generated from waste manure.

The first phase of the farm's energy project, completed in 2006, generated enough electricity to provide for all on-farm use and extra electricity that was sold to a local electric utility. When the farm expanded with more cattle, farm owners started exploring additional streams of revenue to make the best use of the increased manure. The dairy decided to purchase a gas purification system to enable the farm to purify the biogas and generate clean, renewable natural gas to sell to the local natural gas utility. The farm required gas purification equipment that was low cost, low maintenance, reliable, efficient and compact. After a thorough evaluation of XEBEC and other gas purification systems by expert consultants, Scenic View purchased XEBEC'S M-3200 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) system to remove contaminants from the biogas and upgrade the biogas into pipelinegrade natural.

'We selected the XEBEC system because of its low operational and maintenance costs,'1 said Norma McDonald, operating manager of Phase 3 Renewables LLC, the system integrator for the biogas plant. 'We also like the compact, skid-mounted design of XEBEC'S M-3200 because it reduces the project owner's capital costs and the equipment can be easily relocated. Most importantly, the gas upgraded by XEBEC meets and exceeds the stringent purity requirements of Michigan Gas Utilities and government regulators.'

XEBEC's Role at Scenic View
Scenic View's biogas system includes a simple, four-step process. Manure is delivered to a collection area where it is agitated and pumped to three above-ground digesters. The biogas generated from the digesters is piped out of the tanks and directed to one of two systems. The first priority for biogas is generation of sufficient electricity to replace all of the farm's purchased power. Then, based on the revenue they can receive, the farm feeds the remaining biogas to create additional electricity for sale to the power grid or to the biogas upgrading system for the sale of renewable natural gas to the gas utility.

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