Farm Moves Towards Energy Efficiency

Farm Moves Towards Energy Efficiency

Link to video clip: YNN Rochester with Kate McGowan

One Wyoming County dairy farm is taking advantage of its farm waste and using it to create electricity.

As YNN’s Kate McGowan reports, Synergy Dairy in Covington is currently under construction, building the largest on farm co-digester in New York. The project is a major push for more green friendly farms in the state.

10/04/11 -

COVINGTON, N.Y. -- With more than 2,000 cows, Synergy Dairy has no shortage of animal waste. In fact, the farm can create up to 400 tons of manure per day.

Farm owners realized the manure may be worth something.

John Rudgers of Synergy Farms said, "Been kicking around for at least two to three years from my knowledge. Finally saw the relationship as being a possibility and ran with it."

Synergy Dairy teamed up with the company, CH4 Biogas to create a co-digester right on the farm.

The idea is to mix manure and food waste to create methane gas. The gas would then burn in a generator to create electricity. Enough electricity, in fact to power more than 1,000 homes.

“We'll have 1,400 kilowatts per hour,” said Project Manager, Randy Mastin.

The entire project is called Synergy Biogas.

The dairy farm said the cost to build the digester is expensive, but it will benefit the farm in the long run.

Mastin said, "We can produce enough power for the farm to operate. About 25% of our power can go back into the farm to operate."

The process would also create bedding from heated up solid particles of the manure. Another savings for the farm.

"Allows us to use recycled bedding rather than purchase saw dust or other type of bedding materials,” Rudgers said.

Synergy Farms jumped on board once they realized the energy efficiency and eco-friendliness of the project.

“Methane gas is an energy that's available that's not being harnessed currently,” said Rudgers.

“It’s just a positive all the way around,” Mastin said.

Synergy Dairy is still looking for food processors to partner with to collect the food waste needed to create the methane gas. It’s currently working on contract agreements.

The project is expected to be up and running by December 1st.

Rudgers said, "We're getting a lot of good buzz from the community. We just hope it works for everybody."