Aemetis Biogas produces renewable natural gas (RNG) from dairy biomethane digesters located in California’s Central Valley. Aemetis Biogas operates digesters supplied by eight dairies and has agreements with 37 dairies, operates a centralized biogas-to-RNG production facility with utility gas pipeline interconnection, and has completed 36 miles of biogas pipeline with a total of 60 miles already permitted under CEQA.
In addition to the USDA-guaranteed funding, Aemetis Biogas invested $30 million of project equity and has obtained $23 million of grants to date.
The Aemetis AB1 loan was guaranteed by the USDA under the Renewable Energy for America (REAP) loan guarantee program that required monthly draws of funding for project construction. Prior to obtaining the loan, the AB1 project company had already invested the entire equity amount required by the REAP program.
USDA guaranteed loans are expected to be used to fund the construction of additional dairy digesters and biogas pipelines, with a total of $150 million of 20-year loans either closed or in process. In the past year, $50 million of funding guaranteed by the USDA has closed to fund the Aemetis Biogas 1 and 2 project companies. Funding of Aemetis Biogas project companies 3 through 6 is in process, for an additional $100 million of 20-year, USDA-guaranteed funding expected to be obtained in 2024.
For each operating digester, Aemetis has completed testing and verification as well as submitted an application for certified carbon intensity Pathways to CARB at lower carbon intensity values than the temporary Pathway based on actual data from biogas production and dairy operations. The certified Pathway scores are expected to increase LCFS revenues by more than 80% for future LCFS credit sales after the Pathways are approved, compared to the number of LCFS credits issued under the temporary Pathway carbon intensity value. Producers utilize the temporary Pathway while CARB is processing their pathway applications.
The LCFS program is a mechanism for companies that are obligated to comply with mandates to reduce carbon emissions in California by purchasing credits from biofuels producers. The program requires oil companies and other fuel blenders to provide LCFS credits for gallons of gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum products sold in California.
“Aemetis Biogas is actively growing by constructing additional digesters with a goal of operating digesters supplied by 18 dairies by the end of 2024,” stated Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “The funding received by Aemetis Biogas from the 20-year USDA-guaranteed financings allows us to expand the capture of biomethane at dairies to improve local air quality, reduce the global warming effects of methane emissions, and replace fossil diesel fuel in trucks in California.”
Aemetis is building its own RNG fueling station at the company’s ethanol plant in Keyes, California to fuel trucks with locally produced renewable natural gas that provides a 90% reduction in emissions compared to petroleum diesel fuel.
Approximately 25% of methane emissions in California are emitted from dairy waste lagoons. When fully built, Aemetis Biogas plans to capture methane from the waste produced by more than 150,000 cows at dairy farms in California and produce 1,600,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas from captured dairy methane each year. The project is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to an estimated 6.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over ten years, equal to removing the emissions from approximately 150,000 cars per year.