US senator Charles Schumer joined state and local officials on May 1st at the grand opening of New York state’s largest farm sited, ‘co-digestion’ biogas power project, marking an important contribution to the state’s renewable energy production and sustainability efforts. The facility is located at Synergy Dairy, a 2000-head dairy farm in Covington, Wyoming County, southwest of Rochester.

CH4 Biogas LLC built, owns and operates the project under the name Synergy Biogas LLC. The 425 ton per day, mixed-waste facility is also the state’s first biogas project specifically designed for the co-digestion processing of animal and food wastes. The biogas created in the 120 000-gallon co-digester is fueling a GE Jenbacher J420 biogas engine to generate 1.4 MW of renewable electricity.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing $1 million in incentives for the facility.

National Grid is also supporting the project 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. Under its renewable energy marketing programme, the utility is purchasing the electricity generated by the biogas plant, which should produce approximately 10 000 MWh of renewable energy per year. National Grid provided a $750,000 grant through the company’s Renewable Energy and Economic Development Programme to cover the cost of building the substation that connects the facility to the grid.

“This Synergy co-digestion biogas project is the cutting edge of energy technology and is an absolute revenue-producing game changer for our dairies and local economies. 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,” said senator Schumer, whose office helped co-ordinate federal and local funding for the project. Schumer’s office also worked with the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency to help Synergy Biogas LLC complete the facility and partner with Cornell University and Rochester Institute of Technology to evaluate the project’s performance.

The project is expected to reduce the dairy farm’s baselood greenhouse gas emissions by about 8500 tons of CO2 annually. The facility also will produce an estimated 17 500 cubic yards of bedding material for livestock while reducing manure odors and helping the farm manage nutrients applied to cropland.