To increase their revenues and lend a helping hand with the environment while investing in the future of agriculture, producers are working on methane production. Meet passionate producers discussing energy and how they put their know-how to work.
Terryland Farms, Electrifying manure
In 2006, Linda and George Heinzle installed on their farm in Saint-Eugène, in Eastern Ontario, a bio-digester with 1,000 m3 of capacity. Five years later, they covered the roofs of their three buildings with solar panels. Their goals: produce electricity to feed into the province’s electrical network, reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced by their operation and make a profit from diversifying its activities.
Every day, 16 tonnes of manure produced by 280 Holstein cows on Terryland Farms are processed in the bio-digester to produce methane. This gas is used as fuel for two powerful 180 kilowatt (kW) generators which supply nearly 800 kilowatt hours (kWh) a day.
The operation also receives 100 tonnes of sludge composed of various food processing residues. Once processed through the bio-digester, enough methane is produced to make 6,000 kWh of electricity a day from these high energy potential materials.
All the electricity produced by Terryland Farms, which is some 6,800 kWh a day, is sold at 19¢/kilowatt hour to Hydro One and feeds into the electricity distribution network for the province. This brings in about $450,000 a year in revenue. The bio-digester, generators and the computer system cost $1.2-million.
Since the generator’s efficiency is about 40%, heat exchangers capture the heat from the motor and exhaust, which is about one million BTU per hour. This allows the house to be heated as well as the workshop, the milking parlour, the indoor pool and provides the hot water required for the house and barn.
Since 2011, solar panels have been installed on three of the Terryland Farms buildings. An investment of $750,000, it now returns $100,000 a year to the owners. The electricity produced is sold for 52¢/ kilowatt hour to Hydro One.
VIDEO IN FRENCH ONLY
WHO IS PATRICK DUPUIS
Patrick is Deputy Editor at the magazine Coopérateur.Agronomist graduated from McGill University, he also studied sustainable development. He works at the Cooperateur for over twenty years.