Scenic View Dairy: methane digester project
The Scenic View Dairy has been operating since 1985. Owned by Brian Geerlings, this farm, which is located about an hour from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is home to approximately 2,200 milking cows, 1,500 heifers and 10,000 grow-finish swine. Prior to the digester project, as on many other farms, the manure at this facility was stored in an open lagoon and field-applied seasonally. Manure decomposes anaerobically in open lagoons, resulting in large amounts of methane gas, a very potent greenhouse gas.
With the dairy methane digester in place, manure is now taken from the barns and gravity-fed to the digesters where the methane is captured and used for energy production. The potential sale of carbon offsets helped make the Scenic View methane digester system financially feasible. The digester system was installed and first came online in June 2006. Scenic View Dairy was the first commercial facility in North America to generate both pipeline-grade methane and electricity from animal waste.
Environmental and Social Benefits
The methane produced from this system is utilized to generate electricity for on-farm use. Excess power is sold to the power grid for the use of the community.
Other benefits of the system include: utilizing the separated solids as animal bedding, reducing the odor of the effluent, and producing sustainable energy for the farm and local community (600 homes). The farm is also saving money on heating costs, bedding costs, and solids disposal.
For more info on Scenic View, check out this video.
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