San Francisco-based waste to energy project developer, Brightmark Energy, has partnered with four dairy farms in upstate New York to utilise anaerobic digesters that will convert a total of 225,000 gallons of dairy waste per day from 11,000 cows into biogas for upgrade and ultimately injection into the grid.
According to the company after the planned installation of gas upgrade equipment is completed at the Swiss Valley, Zuber, Boxler, and Lake Shore farms, as well as a fifth farm that is expected to be finalised next month, the project is anticipated to generate about 260,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas each year.
The gas processed at each farm will be transported to the Zuber farm, where it will be injected into the Empire interstate gas pipeline.
This is the third such biogas project announced by Brightmark Energy in 2019, following project acquisitions in Washington State and Wisconsin. Once all projects are operational at the end of the year, Brightmark’s biogas projects will generate enough renewable natural gas to drive a car around the earth’s equator 3307 times each year. The company added that it is developing similar biogas projects nationwide.
“This is our biggest anaerobic digestion project to date, and we’re just getting started,” said Brightmark Energy CEO Bob Powell. “We’re proud to partner with farmers who are on the leading edge of sustainability so that they can improve their bottom lines while being good stewards of their local environment.”
Previously, the anaerobic digesters on these farms produced electricity that was used both onsite by the farms and transmitted to the local electric grid. However, some of the digesters are more than 10 years old, and they had begun to cost more to maintain and operate than they generated in value.
After refurbishment work is completed on the systems, participating farmers expect to see drastically greater returns on their digesters, while further minimising the local environmental impacts of the manure generated by their herds.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing initial project planning funding and projects may be eligible for additional funding to implement upgrades to the digesters.
Participating farmer Matt Lamb, owner of Lake Shore Dairy, said, “We’re excited for the digester upgrades to be complete so that we can see improved returns on our investments. Brightmark has been a fantastic partner throughout this process and we’re hopeful about the long-term results from this project.”
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