Natural gas company files petition to build renewable gas plant at Vermont farm

Energy Associated Press

A natural gas company has filed a petition to build a renewable gas plant at a Salisbury farm.

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Lincoln Renewable Natural Gas is waiting for the Vermont Public Service Board to approve plans to build the plant. If the company gets permission, the plant will be the second of its kind in the United States.

Lincoln RNG President Dan Smith told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1JKAa8r ) that traditional methane digesters will process manure at the Salisbury plant to produce bio-gas. The gas would be upgraded to bio-methane.

Once bio-gas is upgraded to bio-methane, it's interchangeable with pipeline natural gas, Smith said.

"It can be injected into a pipeline or compressed and delivered to a customer who can use it in the same form as natural gas delivered into a pipeline, used for heating fuel or it can also be used for vehicle fuel as well," he said.

Most of the plant's output will serve Middlebury College, which has a sustainability objective to take offline all of a certain kind of heating oil. The project will produce the equivalent of 640,000 gallons of heating oil for the college, Smith said.

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Vermont Gas, which is in the process of extending its natural gas pipeline from Colchester to Middlebury, will receive the remaining output. The pipeline is currently under review by regulators but if it's built, the natural gas plant will connect to the pipeline.

The Public Service Board's review process could take three to four months. If the plant is approved, it is expected to be running by year's end.