NW Natural, BioCarbN partner on RNG with Tyson Foods

By NW Natural | January 15, 2021

NW Natural, a subsidiary of NW Natural Holding Co., is partnering with BioCarbN, a developer and operator of sustainable infrastructure projects, to convert methane from some of Tyson Foods facilities into renewable natural gas (RNG) to heat homes and businesses.

Under this partnership, NW Natural has options to invest up to an estimated $38 million in four separate RNG development projects that will access biogas derived from water treatment at Tyson Foods’ processing plants. In December, NW Natural exercised its option for the first development project in Nebraska, initiating investment in an estimated $8 million project. Construction on this first project is expected to begin in early 2021, with completion and commissioning expected in late 2021.

Once fully operational, these four projects are expected to generate more than 1.2 million MMBtu of renewable natural gas each year – enough RNG to provide heat for about 18,000 homes NW Natural serves in Oregon.

This is the company’s first investment under the landmark new state RNG law, Oregon Senate Bill 98, which supports renewable energy procurement and investment by natural gas utilities.

RNG is produced from organic materials like agricultural and forestry by-products, food waste, wastewater, or landfills, and is a unique and valuable form of renewable energy. It combines similar emission reduction benefits of traditional, intermittent renewables such as wind and solar, with the reliability and seasonal storage capabilities of natural gas – all while capturing, cleaning and utilizing organic material that would otherwise contribute carbon to the atmosphere.

“Our vision is to champion innovative policies and new technologies to provide a substantial climate benefit for our customers,” said David H. Anderson, NW Natural president and CEO. “We have a long history of being leaders on environmental stewardship and climate change. This partnership is just one step forward in what we intend to be many to follow, as we work to source more and more of our supply from renewables over time.”

Partners for these projects include BioCarbN, an Idaho-based developer and operator of renewable energy projects, and Cross River Infrastructure Partners, a Connecticut-based developer of waste-based infrastructure projects.

Other RNG projects

The BioCarbN projects will be separate from the three previously announced RNG projects that NW Natural is currently interconnecting to its system. These include the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services’ Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant; the Eugene-Springfield Water Pollution Control Facility; and the Shell New Energies Junction City biomethane facility. According to the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, there are 130 RNG facilities operating today in the U.S. and Canada with 110 more in development or under construction.