2011 Smart Energy Biodigester Projects


On conventional farms, livestock waste is placed in lagoons to decompose where it emits greenhouse gases into the air. A biodigester allows manure to decompose without the presence of oxygen and captures the resulting biogas. The gas is then transmitted to a combustion device, such as an electric generator, boiler, or absorption cooler, and energy is produced. In 2011 The Climate Trust contracted with Revolution Energy Solutions for Smart Energy's fourth project.

Oak Lea Farm is the most recent regional farm to install a biodigester with the help of Smart Energy funds. The farm, which is operated by Tim and Betty Bielenberg, has been in the family for multiple generations. It is the second in Oregon (Lochmead was the first in the state and the nation) to use a digester system that operates at much lower temperatures, making it much more energy efficient.

The project also utilizes food waste that would otherwise end up in the local landfill to produce enough biogas to operate a 190kW generator. The farm and community benefit from enhanced nutrient management as waste is turned into fuel.

"The Oak Lea anaerobic digestion project is meaningful and important on a number of levels," said Alan Tank, CEO and Managing Partner of Revolution Energy Solutions. "The project greatly enhances the sustainability of this family dairy farm, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, it improves air and water quality and it produces enough renewable energy to meet the yearly needs of approximately 200 homes in Oregon."

Congratulations to Oak Lea Farm for being leaders in the adoption of anaerobic digestion technology.