Md. biogas project will digest manure, food waste

By Luke Geiver | May 17, 2012

An anaerobic digestion (AD) project planned for a dairy farm in Massey, Md., will convert dairy manure and local food waste substrates into renewable compressed natural gas.

Through an agreement between Homeland Biogas Energy, a subsidiary of Homeland Renewable Energy, and The Jones Family Farm, a dairy and farming operation in Massey, Homeland Biogas Energy will design, build and operate the 700 million-Btu-per-day project. The above-ground complete mix digester will help manage manure from the 2,000-cow dairy farm, allowing portions of the liquid digestate effluent to be used as fertilizer and the solid digestate effluent to be sold in the region as a soil amendment. Homeland Biogas Energy intends to sell the renewable compressed natural gas (RCNG) for use in transport trucks throughout the region.

“This is another in a long list of anaerobic digester projects we are developing throughout the country,” said James Potter, president and chief operating officer.

Sean Jones, owner of The Jones Family Farm, said he is looking forward to working with Potter’s team to achieve the environmental benefits that come with an AD facility. The partnership between Jones and Potter was formed through the Chester River Association’s Agricultural Program, a Maryland-based healthy farming advocacy group that promotes solutions to agricultural challenges for farmers.

The biogas produced at the farm in Massey may also play a role in another project currently under development by Potter. Fibrowatt, a poultry-to-power subsidiary of Homeland Renewable Energy, in partnership with Perdue Agribusiness, is currently awaiting a decision from the state of Maryland regarding a poultry litter power facility. Through the partnership, Fibrowatt will run the facility and Perdue will supply the feedstock. The two companies submitted the project through Maryland’s Clean Bay Power request for proposals. If it is selected and developed, the RCNG produced at The Jones Family Farm could be used to fuel the transport trucks that haul poultry litter and other biomass residues to the power production facility.

“We know from our experience in developing, constructing and operating our plants that the application of clean, efficient combustion technology is the right solution for managing poultry litter, and deploying anaerobic digesters is the right solution for creating energy from dairy manure,” Potter said.