BRRR: Meet the EPA’s New Biogas Regulations

Category: ABB Products, Capabilities, Oil and Gas

renewable natural gasThe  Biogas Regulatory Reform Rule (BRRR) introduces significant changes regarding the production, measurement, and reporting of biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG). Aimed at strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, these new guidelines are meant to maximize the environmental and economic benefits of biogas. The result is that many biogas producers need to assess and potentially update their existing infrastructure to comply with the more stringent requirements.

Critical deadlines are looming: January 1, 2025 for existing fuel pathways, and immediate compliance for new pathways registered after July 1, 2024. Understanding and adapting to these new regulations is essential for all stakeholders in the biogas industry.

What is Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)?

Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), also known as biomethane, is a sustainable fuel derived from capturing and processing methane-rich biogases released during the decomposition of organic matter such as food waste, animal excrement, and sewage.

Biogas produced from these sources is primarily composed of methane and carbon dioxide, along with other impurities. The upgrading process removes these contaminants, making it a renewable and sustainable energy source. Production and use of RNG can be carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative, as the organic materials used would have released methane into the atmosphere anyway.

The Benefits of Biogas as a Clean Energy Source

Following refinement, RNG is compatible with conventional natural gas infrastructure with significantly reduced emissions. This versatile fuel can be seamlessly integrated into existing gas pipelines and infrastructure, helping to “decarbonize” the gas grid. Moreover, in transportation, RNG is a viable alternative to high-carbon diesel, offering a sustainable option for trucks and buses.

The use of Renewable Natural Gas contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the transition towards a more sustainable and circular economy by utilizing organic waste as a valuable energy resource. There are four primary industries that can leverage RNG production:

  • Landfills (LFG)
  • Organic Waste
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Livestock Waste

BRRR Basics for Biogas Producers

The BRRR requires that producers of biogas, RNG, CNG, and LNG utilize specific gas chromatographs (GCs) and flow meters in order to adhere to specific standards outlined in 40 CFR § 80.155. This ensures accurate and reliable data metrics, which are necessary for compliance and participation in the RFS market.

Specifically, GCs must comply with ASTM D7164, a standard that outlines precise procedures for analyzing the composition of gaseous fuels. Flow meters, similarly, must comply with one of several recognized standards, such as API MPMS 14.3 (Parts 1-4), API MPMS 14.12, or (for European manufacturers) EN 17526.

Measurement Alternatives and More

These requirements present challenges and opportunities for biogas producers. While the EPA strongly encourages the use of standardized methods, it also provides a pathway for producers to utilize alternative measurement protocols (AMPs) if they can demonstrate that their chosen method is equally accurate and reliable.

However, obtaining approval for an AMP can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring extensive documentation and validation. In many cases, investing in compliant GCs and flow meters may be a more straightforward and cost-effective solution. This will ensure seamless compliance with the BRRR and maximize the potential for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) generation.

Beyond equipment upgrades, producers may also need to navigate the complexities of data management and Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) development in order to comply with BRRR’s new requirements regarding data collection, analysis, and documentation.

Getting BRRR-Compliant

Navigating the BRRR’s complex measurement requirements doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can trust Winn-Marion to achieve seamless compliance and maximize the potential of your biogas operations. We have decades of experience working with a wide range of biogas facilities, from landfills and wastewater treatment plants to agricultural operations and food processing plants.  We have a deep understanding of the crucial role that accurate measurement plays in BRRR compliance.

ABB: Advanced Equipment Upgrades You Can Rely On

We partner with ABB to provide state-of-the-art GCs, like the NGC8203, which is designed to deliver the accuracy and reliability you need to meet the BRRR’s stringent measurement requirements. Compliant with ASTM D7164 standards, these GCs ensure precise analysis of biogas composition for optimal RIN generation. Our flow meters, such as the ABB VortexMaster FSV430, adhere to recognized standards like API MPMS, guaranteeing accurate measurement of biogas volume and providing you with the reliable data you need to optimize your operations.

Winn-Marion: Customized Compliance Solutions

We recognize that every biogas project is unique, with varying sizes, scales, and specific requirements. That’s why our experienced in-house engineering and design teams work closely with you to develop customized solutions that address your project’s individual needs.

Whether you require minor equipment upgrades or a complete overhaul of your measurement infrastructure, we have the expertise and resources to deliver tailored solutions that meet your specific goals. Our turnkey services simplify the compliance process, offering a comprehensive suite of solutions to streamline your biogas operations, including equipment selection and installation, calibration and validation, data management and reporting, and Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) development. For larger or more complex projects, we also offer comprehensive project management services.

Don’t let the BRRR deadlines catch you off guard. To meet the immediate demands for compliant equipment, Winn-Marion maintains a regular stock of GCs for quick turnaround. However, lead times can vary, so we encourage you to contact us today to discuss your specific needs. Ensure your biogas operations are fully compliant, efficient, and ready to capitalize on the growing renewable fuels market!

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