Creating Energy with Waste – The RNG Story

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, the parent company of Elkton Gas, working with local governments and industries has identified an innovative energy option that would provide a sustainable, environmentally-friendly supply of renewable natural gas (RNG) while also creating a sustainable solution to local waste management.

Across the globe and in several U.S. states, turning organic waste, like agricultural waste from farms; excess organics from animal processing industries; and landfills into a carbon-negative energy source, known as RNG, is a reality. The process, anaerobic digesting, uses naturally occurring microbes to break down organic waste into two products: methane and an organic fertilizer product. The fertilizer product, which contains much less phosphate and sulfur than other fertilizers, can be used by farmers or sold to external consumers. Once the methane is cleaned, it can be utilized seamlessly in natural gas utility systems as RNG, creating a renewable energy resource right here in Maryland.

Waste streams, such as food waste from hotels, casinos and restaurants can also be used in the process. Landfill gas that would otherwise be flared to the atmosphere is another source of methane to be treated. Instead of the gas being released or flared, it is processed and reused.

Renewable Gas Production Flow Chart – American Gas Association (AGA)

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is working to support and promote the emergence of the renewable fuels market and is doing its part to assist with repurposing agricultural and other organic wastes.

These projects represent sustainable growth investments across the organization’s value chain – natural gas transmission (Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company); natural gas distribution (Chesapeake Utilities, Sandpiper Energy and Chesapeake Elkton Gas); and mobile natural gas transportation (Marlin Gas Services).

Through this collaboration, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation has an immediate and scalable opportunity to further reduce the impact that current wastes have on our surface waters and to mitigate climate change forces in our region. The process of transforming organic waste into RNG is a sustainable and environmentally beneficial way to positively influence our region’s agricultural ecosystem.

In addition, these projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Company is supporting the economy of the region by reusing and converting organic waste into a sustainable, renewable energy source.

Through the RNG process, gas is extracted, and then purified to be delivered and used as clean-burning RNG in homes and businesses and the organic fertilizers are less harmful to our water supply.

It is an innovative idea, an energy resource from waste — clean-burning, renewable natural gas.

Guest Contributor: Steve Baccino – Director, Government Affairs; Chesapeake Utilities Corporation