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Ag-Grid installation targets dairy farm byproduct diversion

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Pennsylvania-based Ag-Grid Energy LLC has helped host a ribbon cutting ceremony for an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in upstate New York that could convert up to 125,000 gallons of agricultural and food processing byproducts daily into energy.

The Ag-Grid installation has been situated on the Lent Hill Dairy Farm in Steuben County, New York. The AD plant will accept cow manure from regional dairy farms and discarded food waste from nearby cheese and yogurt-making plants.

“This project, combined with our windmills, means our farm will have a negative carbon footprint,” says Paul Wolcott, owner of Lent Hill Dairy. “The anaerobic digesters reduce odors and allow us to cut use of chemical fertilizers to help ensure water quality. And they provide pathogen-free solid fiber bedding to keep our cows happy.”

The AD process will create biogas that will then be converted to electricity in what Ag-Grid calls a high-efficiency generator at the Lent Hill farm. The resulting electricity will be added to the power grid operated by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG).

More than 35,000 gallons of food waste and about 90,000 gallons of manure might be handled per day at the facility. At that capacity, some 8 million kilowatt hours of electricity will be generated annually, Ag-Grid says.

The electricity will be used by nearby dairy farm Winsor Acres and a nearby yogurt plant operated by Chobani.

Guests at the June ribbon-cutting ceremony included representatives from the New York Senate and House of Assembly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Steuben County, the town of Cohocton, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the American Biogas Council.

Tipton, Missouri-based Martin Construction Resource (MCR) provided the project’s engineering, procurement and construction services, in part by hiring regional contractors such as Dickson Environmental and Bouille Electric.

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“Facilities like this provide benefits for farmers, for local businesses and for the environment,” says Rashi Akki, founder and CEO of project developer Ag-Grid Energy. “This project is mitigating methane emissions from cow manure, it’s keeping food waste out of landfills where the waste would create greenhouse gas emissions, it’s providing renewable electricity for businesses that want to decarbonize, and it’s providing an added income stream to the Lent Hill family farm.”

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