Aemetis Biogas closes $25M financing for digesters, pipeline

By Aemetis Inc. | October 07, 2022

Aemetis Inc., a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company focused on negative carbon intensity products, announced on Oct. 6 the closing of $25 million of long-term financing with Greater Commercial Lending, which provides loans to businesses and organizations in under-served and rural communities, to build dairy biogas digesters and a biogas pipeline for the Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy Digester Project located in Stanislaus County, California.

The long-term, 20-year project financing was guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Rural Energy for America Program and carries approximately a 6 percent fixed interest rate for the first five years.

Methane digesters are systems that promote the decomposition of organic matter, including animal manure, food wastes and wastewater biosolids, into renewable fuels to replace petroleum products. The Aemetis biogas project is a collection of anerobic digesters at dairy farm lagoons that utilize waste animal manure to generate renewable methane gas to produce renewable natural gas (RNG).

The construction and testing of the six dairy biogas digesters funded by the USDA guaranteed loan is scheduled for completion in Q1 2023. A biogas pipeline connects the dairies to the Aemetis Keyes ethanol plant, where the biogas will be converted to low carbon RNG to be used as a transportation fuel. In addition to using the RNG at the Aemetis ethanol plant and the onsite RNG fueling station that is being built, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will deliver the transportation fuel via gas pipeline throughout California for sale to customers.

“Government-guaranteed loans, such as those through USDA REAP, can be crucial in getting new and innovative projects such as the Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy Digester project built. With GCL’s support, we continue to expand the number of digesters which capture methane emissions from dairy farms and convert the methane into a negative carbon renewable fuel,” said Eric McAfee, CEO and founder of Aemetis Inc.

“We are thrilled to be involved in this project, which is advancing a pioneering solution to a real-world issue. We truly believe efforts like this need to be brought to market, and government-backed loans can be a low-cost and long-term financing source for these important projects,” said Jeremy Gilpin, executive vice president of GCL. GCL is one of the largest providers of USDA government-guaranteed loans. “The Aemetis team has a proven track record in promoting cutting-edge technologies in renewable fuels.”

About 25 percent of the methane emissions in California are emitted from dairy waste lagoons. When fully built, the Aemetis biogas project plans to connect dairy digesters spanning 66 dairy farms across a 40-mile pipeline, capturing more than 1.65 MMBtu of dairy methane each year. The fully operational 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.