Shell’s Wendell biofuels plant: it’s a gas
The Dutch multinational oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell PLC, better known as Shell, announced Sept. 29 that it will build a biogas facility in Wendell.
The plant will produce a product called renewable natural gas (RNG) using the manure from Bettencourt Dairies LLC, a family-run farm business owned and operated by three generations of the Bettencourt family. The RNG plant will be physically co-located at the farm.
Shell estimates that the Shell Downstream Bovarius RNG plant at Bettencourt will produce 400,000 MMBtu. To flesh out what that means in terms of energy, 1 million British Thermal Units (Btu) are equal to one Metric Million Btu, where one Btu is the energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. One MMBtu is equivalent to the energy content of 8.31 gallons of gasoline.
RNG is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and can be used in vehicles equipped to burn natural gas as fuel. Shell’s announcement for the Wendell RNG facility stated: “The use of RNG in the form of compressed natural gas (R-CNG) can reduce CO2 emissions from around 50% to 100% compared to fossil fuels.”
Shell is also building similar facilities to convert dairy farm manure in Plains, Kansas and Junction City, Oregon.
ITD snows its stuff at competition
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) won the national team title when it took a four-person team to the snow and ice removal skills competition on Sept. 29 at the 2021 Western Snow & Ice Conference held by the American Public Works Association in Loveland, Colorado.
The National Roadeo included events for two-person single axle and two-person tandem axle snow plow, and individual events for loader, grader and skid steer. ITD is a multiyear competitor in the snow roadeo, which has been held every year since 1985.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity,” said Stacey McCurdy, who made his first trip to the nationals after 26 district competitions.
“It’s amazing to see how well we worked as a team with all of us coming from different districts,” said Dakota Morgan.
“It was inspiring for me to see the enthusiasm this team of first-time participants brought to the competition; and continued with it to win the National Equipment title,” said Kelley Dick, who coordinated ITD’s participation in the event. “They each did a great job individually, and represented ITD well. It’s about more than a skills competition, though — this just shows that we are providing top-notch service to the driving public.”
“We are very proud of our successful top ITD Equipment Roadeo leaders representing Idaho successfully this year in the Western States annual event,” said ITD Chief Operations Officer Dan McElhinney. “All of us thank them for their commitment to safety and skills excellence.”
Public outreach for US-20 in Island Park
The dread drudgery of driving Highway US-20 between Ashton and the Montana border is a well-known purgatorial pursuit for those making the Yellowstone pilgrimage every summer. To address the issues of congestion and an increasing number of accidents, ITD has initiated a planning and environmental linkages (PEL) process to gather public input on potential improvements to the US-20 corridor between Ashton and the junction with Idaho State Highway 87. The PEL study will become part of the official environmental impact study process under the federal National Environmental Policy Act, which is mandated for all projects receiving federal funding.
ITD scheduled two in-person meetings with the public Oct. 12 in Island Park and Oct. 13 in Ashton, plus an “online meeting” to be held from from Oct. 13 through Oct. 29 for those unable to attend the in-person meetings.