Biogas –The Needed Revenue Stream for 21st Century Dairy Farming
“Germany, Italy, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (USA). What do they all have in common?”
Unlike much of the world, these regions all maximize the “output” of each cow to maintain profitable operations. This means selling milk but also converting manure into electricity, useful heat and free bedding. In addition, they produce a more plant available liquid fertilizer that is both weed seed and pathogen free. Here is video of an experienced Lancaster County nutrient manager describing the benefits of liquid and solid digestate.
These farm communities incorporate anaerobic digesters as an “everyday” piece of equipment, the same as a tractor or alley scraper. It becomes cost efficient for suppliers of parts, technicians and operators to service these regions thus providing local support.
“Are there grants and incentives reducing cost?”
Financial assistance and incentives.
In the USA there are grants from federal and state governments. In addition, corporations purchase carbon credits and this money provides funding worldwide. Some countries offer a generous “green tariff” (price) for renewable electricity and natural gas. There is also the financial “incentive” of improving manure management to avoid government fines.
Farmers are often not aware of specialized grant funding and that is why Agricultural Digesters LLC carefully researches the possibilities.
“We can’t get much money for renewable electricity in my region…”
Going off grid with a small, economical digester.
A smaller, cost efficient, digester recently entered the market. This robust 50kW-100kW model is ideal for farms with 200-750 adult cows and Agricultural Digesters is authorized to sell and develop it.
Should your region pays too little for electricity, why not just make your own? By going “off grid”, a small to mid-size farm can offset its typical $30,000 to $90,000 annual bill. See time lapse video and details here.
On northern Vermont farm in front of German made combined head and power (CHP) genset.
“Swine manure? Chicken manure? Corn silage? Brewery waste? Food Processing Waste? Digesters process all kinds of organic waste.”
Other types of farms and organic waste.
Agricultural digesters make sense for all types of farms internationally, depending on project goals. For example, some pig farms are in danger of losing heat and if this happens, young stock can die. A CHP or boiler will provide this needed warmth..
Other farms are located in regions without reliable electricity. A digester can provide power to the farm and perhaps a nearby business wishing to compete internationally 24/7.
Governments often fine farms for not managing manure causing air, water and soil pollution. A methane digester helps eliminate these fines while producing superior fertilizer, electricity and heat.
“Can we borrow your manure?”
Farms can have a digester for no “own” money.
Agricultural Digesters LLC has investors interested in building methane biogas systems. This means we will build and operate a biogas system while partnering and sharing the financial benefits with the farm. A future buyout can be included in the agreement.
The percentage share for the farm will depend on its contribution. Government grants and carbon credit construction advances, along with the manure itself, are considered investment from the farmer.
“Will it work? I heard horror stories!”
Anaerobic digestion is proven technology.
Many farmers are not familiar with the proven American and European companies that have built hundreds of successful agricultural digesters. We know them and can find the one best suited to your unique situation.
A proven digester company has decades of experience not only with their technology but different feedstocks (e.g. cow, pig and chicken manure as well food processing waste). They have seen every conceivable problem and developed solutions that keep digesters operating for decades – something important to investors who want proven suppliers.
“I’ve heard of farmers up at 3 AM with their digester. Seems like there is always some problem that needs to be dealt with.”
Do you want to be a farmer or a digester operator?
Inevitably, challenges occur with a digester that is fed different organics from various sources, in varying amounts, at different times. This does not happen to the farmer who uses consistent, slurry waste from his own farm – for example, manure. Another sure way to limit supervision time is to co-digest a small percentage of the same off-farm substrate, such as brewery waste, in consistent quantities, on a regular basis.
This is not to say that co-digesting multiple feedstocks is a bad idea. Such a system attracts tipping fees from food waste haulers and is more profitable than a manure digester. However, it is far more time consuming and farmers must decide if that is the direction they want to go.
“My cows love sand and I will never switch!”
Are digested solids as good as sand bedding?
Bedding on sand is understandable. Respected institutions such as Cornell University feel sand is best. But farms should also weigh the additional “cow comfort” that can be purchased when all electricity and bedding costs are eliminated/offset by a digester. For example, more workers can be hired and feed quality improved. View video of experienced nutrient manager discussing digested solids.
In addition, the latest techniques make it possible to bed cows on sand without damaging digesters. For those farms, the best of both worlds?
“When buying a new home, wouldn’t you go to the best agent you could find? It is the same with an anaerobic digester.”
How to choose the right system for your unique farm.
There are several proven biogas technology suppliers to choose from and that means you need a knowledgeable consultant, facilitator or developer. This is specially true in the USA where only 260 farm digesters are in operation as opposed to 15,000 in western and central Europe.
Agricultural Digesters LLC provides years of biogas marketing, grant acquisition and development experience. Also, deep knowledge of the financial value of the input (organic waste) and output (digestate).
We are also developing exciting new markets for excess solids that increase return on investment. .