US – Stanton Farms has launched its newly expanded renewable natural gas (RNG) plant that converts local and farm-based organic waste into fuel, helping divert the waste from the possibility of reaching landfills.
The project, completed in partnership with pipeline operator Enbridge Gas, makes the five-generation family farm the only farm-based renewable natural gas supplier to plug into the provincial power grid.
The new RNG facility will produce over three million cubic meters per year of RNG to Ontario’s natural gas network, which will produce enough renewable energy to provide heat to over 1,300 homes.
The renewable dairy operation at Stanton Farms will remove 11,000 tonnes of GHG emissions, which is equivalent to removing 2,200 vehicles off the road each year, according to Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.
Stanton Farms, which houses over 1,000 cows, built one of the country’s first on-farm digestion systems for biogas more than 10 years ago, a move that has helped supply the town of Ilderton with renewable electricity.
With its second biodigester, Stanton Farms annually will divert 60,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill and capture more than 11,000 tonnes of methane – a major greenhouse gas – for use as energy.
Each farm digestor uses a process known as anaerobic digestion to convert the organic waste – sourced off-farm primarily from food processors and on-farm from manure and livestock bedding – into biogas that consists of methane and carbon dioxide.
Laurie Stanton, president of Stanton Farms, explained that the methane is separated and collected before entering one of two routes.
He added: “One route goes to generators that generate electricity. So, that initial digester generates about a megawatt of renewable electricity. The second digester produces the same biogas that instead flows to “a cleanup facility to get it up to pipeline quality.”
The biogas, which contains about a 65 percent mix of methane and carbon dioxide, undergoes a cleaning process to bring it up to a 98 percent methane standard before it flows into the natural gas distribution system.
Aina DeViet, mayor of Middlesex Centre, which takes in the Ilderton area, applauded Stanton Farms’ dedication to the environment during the years stating that this project highlights innovation and the forward-thinking seen in the agri-business sector and (does so) with an eye toward economic and environmental sustainability.