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Manure to gas: Shell facility coming to Wendell

Spreading manure

A front-end loader is used to load manure onto a manure spreader April 12, 2017, in a field north of Filer.

WENDELL — Construction on a new facility that will change dairy manure to natural gas will break ground next month in Wendell.

Constructed by Shell Oil Products US, the technology will be used at Bettencourt Dairies, a family-owned operation since 1982.

“We are excited to see this investment being made at Bettencourt Dairies,” Idaho Dairymen’s Association CEO Rick Naerebout said in a statement. “It demonstrates the commitment of Idaho’s dairy industry in meeting sustainability expectations and being part of a solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Named Shell Downstream Bovarius, the facility is expected to produce 400,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas per year once up and running. MMBtu stands for Metric Million British Thermal Unit, a unit used to measure energy value. The gas—biomethane—can be sent through pipelines and used in natural gas vehicles.

Biomethane also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

This facility is the second one created by Shell this year. In September, a similar facility opened in Junction City, Oregon, that uses cow manure and agricultural residues. That site is estimated to create 736,000 MMBtu each year.

“The Bettencourts are one great example of how our farmers in Idaho and in Utah can help the dairy industry achieve its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Marissa Watson, vice president of sustainability for Dairy West.

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