3H Cattle Co. cows xyz

Cattle crowd the 3H Cattle Co. feedlot north of Corcoran on the morning of Aug. 12, 2014.

A project is in the works that would take methane emissions from dairies and turn it into a renewable transportation fuel.

Covering around 35 miles, the new Lakeside Pipeline project would connect as many as 18 Kings County dairies (a cluster of eight to begin with) to a buried biogas pipeline and the SoCal Gas distribution system in an effort to cut methane emissions. If successful, the state incentives and restrictions could turn a pollution problem — particulates in our air — into a money-maker for farmers, moving the gas out of the air and selling the biogas as a renewable transportation fuel.

The pipeline project near Seventh Avenue is the subject of a new Kings County conditional use permit application. The pipeline would spread out like a spider web to dairies that have their own covered lagoons and digesters, then come together on a 3.3-acre site owned by Jacob and Nicole DeJong, where equipment would upgrade the gas to be injected into the SoCal Gas network.

Developing the pioneering project is Daryl Maas of Mass Energy Works of Redding. He is also working with the Pixley biogas cluster of dairies, connecting eight to 10 of them. The pipe being laid now connects two dairies.  The project will be the first in the state to connect to SoCal Gas’s system, the utility has said.

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Maas says while dairymen are a skeptical bunch, more are seeing that “the technology works and the offers to buy are promising.”

In a related development, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has announced it would fund an additional $61 million to $75 million in projects to help dairies install digesters to cut methane emissions. Applications are due Jan. 26.

A workshop will be held from 1-3 p.m. Jan. 4 in Tulare at the Ag Commissioner’s office. CDFA has already funded $35 million in projects including digesters at three Kings County dairies, none part of the Lakeside cluster.

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John Lindt is an independent business reporter. He can be reached at sierra2thesea@gmail.com

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