Synergy Biogas Grand Opening

Synergy Biogas Grand Opening

New York's Largest Farm & Food Waste Biogas Facility Opened

Waste Management World:
New York's Largest Farm & Food Waste Biogas Facility Opened02 May 2012

New York State's largest on-farm, 'co-digestion' biogas power project has begun processing animal and food waste at Synergy Dairy in Covington.

The anaerobic digestion (AD) facility is owned and operated by CH4 Biogas under the name Synergy Biogas and will generate 1.4 MW of electricity using GE Jenbacher J420 gas engines.

The project is expected to reduce the dairy farm's base load greenhouse gas emissions by about 8500 tons (7700 tonnes) of CO2 annually.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer joined state and local officials at the grand opening of biogas power project, which is expected to boost to the state's renewable energy production and sustainability efforts.

"By recycling agricultural waste in biogas plants, dairies can reduces disposal costs, produce affordable renewable energy to run their operations and gain a revenue source by selling excess power to the grid," commented Schumer.

Schumer's office also worked with the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency to help Synergy Biogas complete the facility and partner with Cornell University and Rochester Institute of Technology to evaluate the project's performance.


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is provided funding of $1 million in incentives for the facility, which has the capacity to handle 425 tons (385 tonnes) per day.

The NYSERDA said that the facility is also expected to produce an estimated 17,500 cubic yards (13400 cubic metres) of bedding material for livestock while reducing manure odours and helping the farm manage nutrients applied to cropland.

The project also received additional support from the National Grid (NYSE: NGG) as part of its broader strategy to help upgrade New York State's energy infrastructure, promote further economic growth in the region and encourage the development of renewable energy resources.

National Grid provided a $750,000 grant through the its Renewable Energy and Economic Development Program to cover the cost of building the substation that connects the facility to the grid.

Under its renewable energy marketing program, the utility is purchasing the electricity generated by the biogas plant, which it states will produce approximately 10,000 MWh of renewable energy per year.

Through its partnerships with local food manufacturers, Synergy Biogas said that it has already has diverted more than 1.14 million gallons (4.31 million litres) of food waste from landfills and wastewater treatment facilities, highlighting another environmental benefit of the project.

In addition to NYSERDA and National Grid's respective financial support, the project also qualified for a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) under the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005.

As part of the 2009 federal stimulus initiative, the U.S. Treasury will pay this tax credit as an ITC cash grant for qualifying projects that began construction before the end of 2011.

Bright future

The Synergy Biogas operation is the first of several New York dairy farm digester projects that CH4 Biogas and GE Energy plan to build.

According to the NYSERDA such projects illustrate how the state's food and beverage industries can utilise their on-site waste streams to produce free fuel for power generation.

According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in 2011 the state had 5300 dairy farms with more than 600,000 dairy cows.

However, less than 20,000 of those cows were being utilised in energy production, through the use of 17 digesters that produce a combined 3 MW. As of 2011, an additional 17 digester systems were awaiting installation to generate a combined 6 MW.

The NYSERDA said that the Synergy project illustrates how the incentives it offers are supporting the purchase, installation and operation of more AD biogas systems to help the state create a more sustainable agricultural sector.