Boise, Idaho, May 11, 2011 — With the environmental impacts of agricultural activities coming under greater scrutiny, Bio Town Ag in Indiana and a community "cow power" project in Dane County, Wis., are among a growing number of U.S. farms to install anaerobic digesters and GE's Jenbacher biogas engines to recycle livestock wastes into renewable electricity that is used to support onsite farm operations and rural transmission grids.
Created by the EPA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, AgSTAR promotes the installation of digesters to convert livestock waste and other agricultural biomass into methane-rich, renewablebiogas. As a result, less methane is available to escape into the atmosphere.
In addition to reducing onsite emissions, agricultural biogas projects can help farmers comply with more stringent local water quality standards.
By capturing agricultural wastes for biogas production, farmers can avoid the need to dispose these materials on their lands. As a result, lower levels of various biomass contaminants can potentially escape into nearby rivers, lakes and ponds.
GE's biogas engine technology continues to be deployed at some of the country's most innovative agricultural biogas projects, including the Bio Town Ag project in Indiana and a recently completed, multi-farm digester project in Dane County, Wis.
Featuring three, 1-MW Jenbacher JMS 320 generator sets, Bio Town Ag marks GE's so far largest U.S. agricultural biogas-to-energy project. The project also is the first to combine GE's Jenbacher gen-set technology with advanced digester technology supplied by GHD, Inc., the largest U.S. supplier of agricultural anaerobic digesters.
Bio Town Ag is a livestock farm with 4,500 beef cattle and 800 sow swine, located in Reynolds, Ind., a corn, soybean, dairy and swine farming region that was previously dubbed "Bio Town USA" by Indiana's governor.
The farm is developing a 3.1-MW digester biogas-to-energy plant powered by GE's Jenbacher engines to transform its livestock manure into renewable energy. Bio Town Ag also plans to recover solids for bedding, convert post-digestion liquids into fertilizer and recycle water for on-site uses.