N.Y. wants new dairy methane digesters


ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State has been selected to host a Dairy Power Project, promoting methane digester use on dairy farms as a means of creating electricity.

The pilot project is coordinated by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Methane digesters capture naturally occurring methane gas from stored manure and convert it into electricity. Currently, digester adoption in the U.S. has been limited by economic, institutional, technological and cultural barriers.

This project will conduct a market assessment to identify and prioritize regions with the greatest opportunity for methane digester adoption.

Learn more this fall

The Innovation Center will convene stakeholders at a Dairy Power Summit in Syracuse Oct. 29 and 30 to commit to a strategy and set of projects.

Dairy producers, utility companies, milk cooperatives, digester developers, financial institutions, academia, and representatives from local, state and federal governments will all be invited to attend.

Twelve in use

New York State has 6,200 dairy farms with over 600,000 dairy cows. Currently, only 10,000 cows are utilized in energy production through the use of 12 installed methane digesters that produce 1.3 megawatts of energy in New York.

There are an additional 19 methane digesters waiting to be installed on New York dairy farms that would utilize 23,000 additional cows and have the potential to produce 7.6 megawatts of energy.

For more information on the Dairy Power Summit, contact Ron Rausch at New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets at 518-457-2771.

(Read a .pdf summary of the Dairy Power Project.)

(Learn more about methane digesters on dairy farms in this Cornell report.)


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  1. I just read the summary of the Dairy Power Project. It sounds like a bunch of people sat around and talked about how to waste more time talking about it. Key points… Lobbying… Studying…. Convene a stakeholders summit! All thing to help people that have nothing to do with farming employed. Why not come up with an approve digester design and then get state funding to help farmers build them. No need to waste anymore time. It time to just do it.

  2. I have heard that methane digesters only work for very large operations, yet are being sold to small operations. Won’t this act to push more farmers into large CAFO type operations that are detrimental to maintaining sustainable, family farms.
    Is anyone monitoring the solid waste that is coming out of these digesters for heavy metals and other concentrated pollutants?


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