Family-owned Farm Anaerobic Digester Project
Sunny Knoll is a family-owned farm with 1,200 milk cows located in Perry, New York. The project generates emission reductions by capturing and destroying methane gas that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Methane gas is a common byproduct of dairy farms, which traditionally manage manure and other organic waste by storing it in open wastewater lagoons. Since these lagoons are usually more than a few feet deep, this waste decomposes anaerobically over time, thereby producing methane. The installation of a digester to accelerate the decomposition and capture the resulting gas is one of the few technologies available to dairy farmers to avoid such methane emissions.
Digester projects are very expensive, especially at a small-scale farm like Sunny Knoll; carbon credits provide a very important stream of revenue to help make the projects economically viable. Sunny Knoll also harnesses the captured methane to generate electricity, enabling the farm to generate its own power and sell excess power to the grid. This helps the farm reduce operating costs and mitigate the impact of milk price fluctuation and other economic conditions.
Like most dairy digesters, this project also provides environmental and social co-benefits, including reducing water pollution that can result from nutrient runoff from wastewater lagoons and reducing odor in the local community.