How do biodigesters help?

Let us count the ways.  (Thanks, Elizabeth Barrett Browning!)


Biodigesters like the ones built by Farm Power Northwest in Tillamook create multiple benefits.

First, they capture methane which would otherwise reach the atmosphere and trap heat.

Second, they produce a renewable power source -- biogas -- that can substitute for fossil-fuel generated electricity.

Third, they help farmers and food processors manage their waste products.

Fourth, they provide farmers with a low-cost, environmentally sound source of fertilizer and compost.

Fifth, these projects reduce the odors associated with dairy farms by 90 percent.

Overall, they provide a boost to family farms while keeping money in the local economy and taking major steps toward environmental protection.

Kevin and Daryl Mass, founders of Farm Power Northwest, created their first two digesters in their coastal Washington home town.  With their early success, they have moved into projects throughout the Northwest.

Kevin & Daryl Maas on digester tankThey chose Tillamook, Oregon, for two projects.  One pipes manure from five different dairies to a centrally located biodigester. The small farms -- with a few hundred cows at the most -- wouldn't be able to sustain individual biodigesters. But the combined waste is enough to power about 700 average American homes for a year.

 The project at the Misty Meadow Dairy addresses odors and methane in one additional way. A cloth "cap" reduces smells and emissions from the large container that stores manure before it reaches the biodigester.  The digester also generates electricity sold to the local public utility district.

"No other community in the country produces as much energy per cow," said Daryl of the Tillamook projects.

Smart Energy, working with the Climate Trust, supports methane reduction projects that result in multiple benefits. These two Tillamook biodigesters are great examples of how a small investment can make a big difference to family farms and their surrounding communities.



Smart Energy Projects

Map of Smart Energy projects

 Not shown: Whitesides Dairy, Rupert, ID


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