Renewable natural gas (RNG) is truly amazing when you think about it. The gas derived from cattle manure is captured in special domes, cleaned, and blended at a 10% concentration with natural gas to augment residential energy needs. Dairy farms usually provide the feedstock for these operations. Blackeagle has long championed RNG projects, which require a special skillset that is separate – although not entirely foreign – from traditional oil and gas. By setting an example of how traditional oil and gas skills are transferrable to renewables, we’re leading the way to energy’s future. And helping our customers get there, too.
Blackeagle was contracted to handle mechanical work for construction of a new renewable natural gas pod, the name for a RNG operation serving a designated area. The pod consisted of a total of five anaerobic digesters across three separate locations. Two locations each had two digesters, with the final locations having only one. It would require three miles of pipe to connect the locations together to form the pod.
Blackeagle was tasked with the bulk of the technical work, including installing piping and setting major equipment responsible for upgrading the harvested gas to clean and prepare it for injecting into the sales pipeline. The construction called for simultaneous operations of multiple construction disciplines, ranging from electrical contractors, civil contractors, anaerobic digester tank construction, and others.
An added challenge was that many of these other disciplines had not worked on a renewable project before and needed Blackeagle to lead the way.
Blackeagle has been on the leading edge of translating traditional oil and gas industry skillsets to renewable energy projects. As pipeline transport experts, we understand that methods must adhere to the medium. But we also know that, often, it’s a case of adapting what you already know rather than starting from scratch.
We worked closely with the customer’s engineering team, providing insight on constructability to their plans. Other work related to setting of major equipment included bolt-up, assembly of specialty equipment, custom fabrication, cable trays, painting, and more. Using standard trench methods, we also installed a total of three miles of pipeline.
The project took place during a time of COVID-related supply chain issues. With simultaneous operations at the site already placing a strain of resources, the supply chain delays required strict communication between Blackeagle, the developer, and other subcontractors. A high degree of communication intelligence is one of the building blocks of the Blackeagle way, making us an ideal fit for this job.
Blackeagle completed Phase I construction for this customer and was asked to return for Phase II. In addition, we’re now contracted to provide the same services for two new pods this customer is developing.
We benefitted our customer by helping them navigate this energy transition and the workforce by utilizing oil and gas skillsets that are transferrable to the renewables industry. The dairy farm supplying the pod benefits from a new revenue source while addressing its manure waste disposal challenges. And, of course, the reduction in carbon footprint and greenhouse gasses (GHGs) helps the environment.