Saturday, November 26

Chesapeake Utilities buys poultry litter technology start-up

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation purchased 100% of the membership interest of Planet Found Energy Development, LLC (PFED) for $9.4 million. PFED is based in Pocomoke City, MD.

PFED was formed by Delmarva-based scientists, farmers, and business people seeking to develop poultry litter management technologies. This acquisition aligns with Chesapeake’s renewable energy strategy, including the following:

  • Internal technology expertise, especially related to organic soil conditioners and future fertilizer production, an important economic component in poultry waste biogas production.
  • Operation of a small poultry biogas facility in Maryland that Chesapeake Utilities will use as a test facility to help verify waste stream and fertilizer chemistry on future projects, useful in both financial projections and potential regulatory treatment.
  • Development of a second biogas site in Maryland that the company can expand and complete.
  • PFED technology and process scalable for growth going forward.

“Environmental considerations are important factors when we assess future opportunities for Chesapeake Utilities, and the acquisition of Planet Found, located in our Delmarva service territory, is a major step in advancing our efforts,” said Jeff Householder, Chesapeake CEO. “Development of waste-to-energy has become a significant interest to energy delivery companies and their investors as a component of a lower carbon energy strategy. Chesapeake Utilities is geographically located in areas with significant agricultural facilities and waste sources, and the company has the industry knowledge, energy delivery asset base, and capital deployment appetite to play a leading role in the generation and delivery of biogas in its service territories. Following our first RNG transportation project completed in Ohio last year, we have now expanded our portfolio of renewable energy delivery solutions. Planet Found enhances our expertise, technologies and know-how that can be leveraged for various scale biogas and RNG development projects on Delmarva and beyond.”

Renewable natural gas is viewed in some quarters as a way to produce natural gas. While a fossil fuel, renewable natural gas reduces methane that can end up in the atmosphere. On Delmarva, renewable natural gas also addresses the issue of poultry litter and wastewater from processing plants that can end up in far fields and waterways.

Chesapeake has proposed transporting renewable natural gas via truck to its utility system on Delmarva.

The gas can be extracted from landfills, poultry plants and livestock operations.

Renewable gas has its critics who are bitterly opposed to a proposed plant near Seaford. Other in the environmental community support projects to extract the gas and convert waste to fertilizer..



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