Wayside Energy and Harcolm Farms
Harcolm Farms in Beachville, Ontario
This project demonstrated the first-ever installation of a pre-packaged, farm-scale anaerobic bio-digester (AD) system at an Ontario dairy farm operation.
A major benefit of this system is that the design is scaled to fit the size of the farm. This means that the feedstock for the digester is solely supplied by the manure from the on-farm dairy cattle (i.e., avoids the need to ‘import’ off-farm organics).
The objective was to show how an average sized dairy farm can be ‘energy and resource self-sufficient’ and ‘carbon neutral’ through the conversion of the cattle manure into a renewable biogas to produce electricity and heat for the farm operation.
The system is pre-packaged or ‘containerized’ allowing for rapid installation on-site after delivery and for low cost operation and maintenance and can be sized to generate between 10 and 40 kW of electricity.
Installation of the system started in January 2018 and was completed on-site in three days. The system was operational in February following initial testing and system ramp-up. The entire system is fully automated, allowing the operation to be seamlessly managed and monitored from a smart phone.
The system generates a total of 20 kW from two 10 kW ‘gen sets’, and was connected to the electrical grid in March 2018. Harcolm Farms executed two contracts with Hydro One and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO):
- The first was a Net Meter contract that provides a cost-avoidance savings of about 20 cents per kWh or $12,000 annually.
- The second was a MicroFIT contract where the farm sells surplus electricity back into the grid at a price of 25.8 cents per kWh or $20,000 annually.
BLOOM estimated that the potential cumulative GHG net reductions over a 10 year period from adoption of this system, are 34,450 tonnes in Ontario and 115,241 tonnes in Canada (assuming an annual one percent adoption rate in the first five years and a two percent rate thereafter).
GHG emissions are reduced in two ways: capturing the methane from the outdoor manure pit which would otherwise be emitted into the air; off-setting GHG associated with electricity production from the grid and fuel use (natural gas and propane) for heat.
POSITIONING FOR MARKET ADOPTION
There are more than 3,600 dairy farms in Ontario and just fewer than 11,000 dairy farms in Canada. The majority of these are average-sized dairy farms that have approximately 85 milking cattle, which could benefit from the installation of a small-scale anaerobic digester.
Investments in this type of on-farm system would allow dairy and other livestock producers to be ‘energy independent’ and be insulated from future cost-increases, as well as realizing other cost-savings associated with manure management. For smaller farm operations where margins are low, any opportunity to reduce costs and improve the bottom-line is vital for long-term business competitiveness.
Further details are provided in the case study below. An ‘open house’ to celebrate installation of this system was held in March 2018 and a video was released on the event (see link below).
For more information about the demonstration project contact:
Kevin Jones, President and CEO
John Hawkes, Founder
Robert McKinlay, Co-Owner