California Dairies Look to Biogas Market

Dairy farms and anaerobic digesters seem like a no-brainer business venture, and the California dairy industry is starting to pick up on the idea. Two renewable energy companies have secured deals with farms or dairy organizations in the state to install digester technology that will harvest methane from cow manure.

Turlock/Acampo, California – September 9, 2004 [] Intrepid Technology and Resources (ITR) has partnered with the California Dairy Campaign (CDC) to promote the company’s digester technology to the California dairy industry. Gary Bullard, who is the environmental project manager for CDC, attended a demonstration of ITR’s first methane bioreactor in Rupert, Idaho, and wanted to bring the technology to the California dairy industry. “I left the demonstration convinced that the technology and processes that I saw were of paramount importance to our member dairies,” Bullard said. “California is facing an unprecedented environmental challenge to the continued and successful operation of these dairies due to State requirements on the removal and disposition of animal wastes and the associated air, soil and water quality standards which are the most stringent in the nation.” The California dairy industry has 2000 individual dairies, and over 1.4 million head of dairy cows total. Anaerobic digesters could help these farms meet the state requirements, and open up a connection to the liquid gas market in the area. Seifert Dairy Farms of Acampo, has already signed an agreement with Microgy Cogeneration Systems for an on-farm location of an animal feed production system based the company’s anaerobic digester technology. Microgy’s agreement with Seifert is part of a contract the company has with the Scoular Company, which is a merchandiser of agricultural commodities. Up to 50 systems designed to use an efficient, environmentally sound process to produce animal feed will be installed at Seifert. The machines will run off of biogas generated from the on-site manure. “We are very pleased about the project. After careful review, we came to the conclusion that Microgy’s system offers a unique opportunity to use waste generated at the farm to enhance our revenues,” said Joy Seifert, owner of Seifert Dairy Farms.
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