The town of Sioux Center, in northwest Iowa, is looking for an innovative new way to supplement its natural gas supply: cow manure. In partnership with Novilla RNG, a renewable natural gas infrastructure company, the community plans to construct an 8-mile pipeline from three local dairy farms to generate renewable energy from a source that would otherwise be wasted—cow manure.
The project will involve putting the manure produced by Maassen Dairy, Hoogland Dairy, and Brian Roorda Dairy into digesters that break down the waste and create natural gas. The gas will then undergo a scrubbing and monitoring process before being pumped directly into the town’s distribution system and sold to Sioux Center. Adam Fedders, utility assistant manager, estimates that this source of natural gas could bring up to 350 MMBtus a day—nearly one-third of what Sioux Center typically uses on any given summer day.
Furthermore, this project will also help reduce the town’s carbon footprint by capturing methane released from cow manure. According to Aaron Massen—the fifth-generation farmer who owns Maassen Dairy—the estimated greenhouse gas emissions eliminated by this project would be the equivalent of taking 8,800 cars off the road. This is just one example of how local ag businesses can positively impact their communities when they take advantage of such opportunities.
Fedders is proud to be partaking in this “leading-edge technology,” which adds value to Sioux Center and the nearby dairy farms supplying them with renewable energy. Construction for this pipeline is expected to start soon and requires an estimated cost of 5.2 million dollars for completion. Once completed, it will provide a sustainable solution for citizens living in Sioux Center and an opportunity for local agricultural businesses to expand their operations while helping reduce their environmental impact.
Other communities in the region have taken note of Sioux Center’s progressive approach to energy supplies and are exploring similar initiatives. Through these innovative efforts, Iowa farmers can continue to make an impact as both producers and stewards of renewable energy. Working with Novilla RNG and other local partners, communities like Sioux Center can pursue green solutions for their energy needs that benefit their environment and their economy. With this project, many more towns may soon join the list of those striving to create a cleaner future through the power of renewable natural gas.
Jonas Muthoni is an entrepreneur and renewable energy expert. He is the founder of MicroGridMedia.com, a website dedicated to bringing the latest news and information about solar energy and other renewable energy sources to the public. Jonas is passionate about promoting sustainable energy solutions and educating the public about the benefits of renewable energy. He is a regular speaker at industry events and conferences and is committed to driving the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.