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- January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2008
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impact statement impact
- In Malone, NY, there are three correctional facilities: Upstate, Barehill, and Franklin Correctional Facilities. Nearby to these complexes are five dairy farms with a total of 2,625 dairy cows. The farmers expect the number of cows to continue to increase in the upcoming years. The town of Malone and the farms participated in a survey conducted by the Malone Digester Project Committee. Malone, NY, is trying to develop economically by expanding businesses in non-agricultural sectors, but wants to keep the local dairy industry. The town has recently planned to build a Wal-Mart and wants to continue growth in its Industrial Park. This growth in industrial and service sectors will have large energy needs. The excess power generated need to be sold back to the grid. The surrounding area in Salem, NY, where the digester was situated was not able to use the excess electricity produced. With industrial growth, correctional facilities, and net metering, all of the electricity generated from an anaerobic digester could be sold in Malone, NY. The model developed herein will be used to show the advantages of a centralized manure and food processing facility located near facilities producing food waste. A centralized facility is an appealing proposal to the community because it provides a way of controlling odor, produces green energy, and creates new revenue for local farmers. The centralized facility thus helps to improve the local economy while preserving the local dairy industry and providing an alternative energy source.
impact statement issue
- For large dairy farms with cash reserves, a digester is an alternative energy investment because the farm can retrieve additional value for their manure. For smaller dairy farms, however, digesters are not economically feasible because the benefits produced from the manure are not enough to offset the costs of the digester. Profitable digesters gain most of their revenue from tipping fees. This additional revenue is made by taking waste products from milking facilities and food processing facilities and dumping them into digesters. The facilities would normally pay to dispose of the waste. The owners of the digesters dispose of waste at similar costs, increasing the economic benefits of operating digesters. The owners of digesters benefit from food waste economically in three main ways. First, they benefit when tipping fees are collected as stated above. The second benefit is obtaining secondary biomass for the anaerobic digester. The additional biomass is broken down into biogas, increasing the output of the digester. The third benefit is the biogas collected is higher in methane content, leading to a higher energy value. Recycling, milk production, and food processes have become centralized to maximize economic profits. Similarly, collection of manure from a cluster of farms could be centralized to benefit from economies of scale. Previous studies concluded that a centralized digester facility is not economically feasible. Our study shows that in order to generate additional income from tipping fees, the centralized digester facility would need to be placed near facilities that produce large amounts of food waste. This translates into an additional revenue source and makes the investment more profitable.
impact statement response
- The comprehensive gas production model that we developed previously is being validated from data from several dairy farms in New York. The model predicts energy requirements to operate a digester and produce gas. It was initially validated against measured gas production data from two New York farms. This time, data from five farms will be used to validate it. Once this is completed, the web-based model that we started previously will be updated and made available for users. The web-based model will be an interactive computer program that contains data base of essential parameters. When completed, it will be a design and analysis tool that can be used by extension engineers, extension agents and farmers.
impact statement summary
- The research evaluates and predicts gas (methane) production from animal manure and food waste through anaerobic digestion processes. The gas produced can be used to produce electricity, to heat water for farm use, or for other business ventures that use energy. The anaerobic digestion system can be optimized by using the heat in the effluent to pre-heat the influent manure and food waste. This approach saves considerable energy. Anaroebic digestion systems can be centralized around clusters of small farms and correctional facilities to produce more input of manure and food waste, respectively.
- Both Basic Research and Applied Research
- Gebremedhin, Kifle G Cornell Faculty Member