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Farm cooperative will employ AD process to handle waste

By Lisa Gibson | June 06, 2011

Synergy Dairy LLC in northwestern New York will partner with Florida-based technology developer CH4 Biogas LLC to develop a mixed-waste anaerobic digestion system at Synergy’s dairy in the western New York town of Covington. Together, the companies will own Synergy Biogas.

Synergy Biogas is under construction at the Covington dairy site, allowing for simple piping of the manure to the process and distinct advantages for the farmers, and should be operational by the fall of this year, according to Bob Blythe, president of CH4. The resulting biogas will be used to generate electricity through a GE Jenbacher genset with the capacity to produce 2 megawatts per hour for sale to the grid.

The 2,000-cow dairy is large, but not unusual for the state, according to Blythe. “There are several dairies in the state with more than 1,000 cows,” he said. Synergy Dairy, a cooperative of both dairy and crop farmers, was established in 2009. The co-op was formed to develop and manage projects that would benefit from the farmers’ complementary strengths. The organization purchased the Covington dairy, its first large-scale endeavor, in 2004.

The facility is permitted to receive 80,000 gallons per day of manure and 40,000 gallons per day of food waste from local manufacturers of cheese, yogurt and packaged vegetable products, as well as from bakeries and separate organic waste from supermarkets, Blythe said.

“We are excited to be building our first mixed-waste facility in Wyoming County, one of the leading dairy production regions in the U.S.,” Blythe said. “Everyone we have worked with in the county has shown a strong commitment to a sustainable diary industry and protecting the environment.”