The principal monetary benefit would be the value of biogas as a fuel, replacing another
source of energy. Other benefits are described below.
Electricity: A digester system will produce electricity to offset current farm power needs and
could easily produce electricity to sell to the utility when a Power Purchasing Agreement
contract is developed.
Heat: Biogas may be used as a replacement for propane or natural gas. Heat may be recovered
from the engine-generator heat exchanger which may be used for heat source replacements.
Bedding: (complete mix & plug flow) The solids recovered from a complete-mix or plug flow
digester effluent are suitable to use for cow bedding. However, due to the dilute nature of
covered lagoon influent, a solids separator is required prior to the anaerobic digester and the
solids recovered “as-is” would not be appropriate for this use.
Recovered Solids: Solids recovered could be composted and sold off-site to a mulching or
gardening facility. Solids separation in general reduces the need for storage basin clean-outs.
Manure Handling: Dairy farms with anaerobic digesters report improved odor control &
improved manure pumpability.
Green House Gas Reduction Credits: Flush dairy practices and liquid manure storage basins
provide and anaerobic environment in which carbon contained in the manure is converted into
methane (CH4). An anaerobic digester system will trap this methane before it can enter the
atmosphere and combust the methane gas in a flare, boiler or engine. During combustion,
methane is converted into carbon dioxide (CO2). While still a green house gas, CO2 is 20 times
less harmful to global climate stability than methane. Financial incentives to capture and
destroy methane are available to digester projects through a participating member and offset
provider on the Chicago Climate Exchange. More information about this program may be found
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs): Depending upon the agreement worked out with the utility;
the dairy may be able to sell RECs to the utility, state or on an informal market. 1 REC=1000
kWh of power produced. The ability to sell these credits and the value of these credits is
uncertain so a financial value in not normally placed on these credits prior to construction.
Tax Benefits - Depreciation: Straight line depreciation for the project can be claimed on annual
tax returns for the farm.
Tax Benefits: Renewable Energy Credit: Section 45 of the tax code made by the “Energy Policy
Act of 2005” allows renewable energy projects with an engine nameplate rating of 150 KW or
greater to obtain a tax credit of 1 cents/kWh of power produced.
Herd Health: Reduced pathogens in the recycled flush water will help improve the overall
health of the dairy animals.
Farmer Reported Costs: In our experience, Operations and Maintenance costs are on the order
of $0.015-$0.020 per kWh of power generated by the project. For instance a 100 kW engine-
generator running 90% of the time could produce 788,400 kWh each year which would cost
between $11,000- $15,800 per year to maintain and operate.
These costs are incurred by labor and materials for routine digester checks and engine
maintenance such as oil and spark plug changes.
Digester Maintenance: A properly running anaerobic digester project will take no more
attention than a 30 minute walk around to check the engine and biogas meters, digester pH
In an instance where a manure pump gets clogged with a foreign part or the engine needs
attention, more time will be needed.
Engine maintenance: Oil changes on the engine are required every two weeks which can
require additional labor hours.
The Caterpillar & Waukesha engine will require a top-end rebuild about every 20,000 hours (2.2
years) this can cost on the order of $10,000. This can be done in one day by a good mechanic.
Engine Heads need to be replaced every 8,000 to 12,000 hrs. Waukesha motors may go longer
on heads but have the tendency to drop valves and do more damage if let go to long. These are
easily replaced in one day.
The Waukesha engine at Matlink Dairy (Ridgeline) went 22,000 hrs before it dropped a valve.
This did not do any damage to the engine. The valve just broke up and the engine spit it out the
exhaust. The engine continued to run for 2 weeks without the exhaust valve while they waited
for a replacement head.
Does Anaerobic Digestion Solve the Problem?
A problem must be recognized before it can be solved. Farms and governments are
recognizing the need for control of point source and non-point discharge from animal
production. Controls cost money. Digesters make money for the farm from heat or electricity,
reduced odor, reducedflies, reduced pathogens, killed weed seeds, and improved fertilizer
values. Therefore, anaerobic digestion can be a solution to the problem.
The long term analysis is, an anaerobic digester will improve the profitability of most, but not all
farms. In the future, the advantages of the systems will be more fully appreciated. There are
hundreds more digesters today than there were 10 years ago. The farming industry has
embraced the technology as a lower cost alternative for pollution control and many farms will
continue to do so. When the technology is compared with alternatives, farmers realize that
the advantages exist. If farms in all countries must meet similar pollution control regulations,
then they will all consider their options and many will select digestion for the edge it will give
them in profitability.
|© Copyright 2013 RCM International, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
Design by: Djesley Paschoal
April 8, 2008
The Brubaker heated and mixed digester is updated with and designed with the most cost
effective construction techniques. The new model engine is a Guascor and is 50% more
efficient than old biogas engines. The 700 cows manure plus a few scoops of other on farm
waste are making biogas to run the engine at 180-210 kW continuously. Digested solids are
separated and dried and used for bedding.
Job name - Brubaker Brothers
Location - Mt. Joy PA
Digester Type - 1,100 cow complete Mix
Herd Size - 700 cows
Engine - 225 kW Guascor
Features - FAN solids separator with forced heat drying floor under the solids.
|Open House at Brubaker Farms
(click on images for more information)
|Complete Mix Digester and Safety Flare
July 24, 2008
|Poop Power: The Wave of the Future?
|RCM Covered Lagoon at Castelanelli Dairy in Lodi, CA
featured in NEWS10 ABC.
|Mark Moser at Cal-Denier Dairy in Galt
February 12, 13 and 14, 2009
|"An Oldie But a Goodie"
(Click on the image to read the article)
|RCM Lagoon Digesters
|RCM's digester on "Living with Ed" Show!!!
|Shrak Farms Educational Video
(RCM Plug Flow Digester)
RCM International, LLC and TeamAg cordially invite the Dairy Farmers of Pennsylvania to
Digester Open Houses in 3 convenient locations. For more information or to RSVP please call
|click on any image for more information
October 27, 2011
A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony marked the official opening of the new RCM bio-digester at Ideal
Family Farms in Beavertown. (L to R) Denise Bechdel (Bucknell SBDC), Merv Yoder (RCM
Enterprises), Shawn Frantz (Ag Choice Farm Credit), Thomas Williams (USDA Rural
Development), Gerald Stauffer (Ideal Family Farms), Dennis Brubaker (Ideal Family Farms),
Fred Keller (PA State Representative, 85th), Peggy Chamberlain Roup (Snyder County
Commissioner), Todd Roup (Chief of Staff-PA Senator Gordner)
January 14 to 16
The largest Agricultural Show in the world is coming up. See you there!!!
October 27-29, 2011
The Eco Expo Asia held at the Asia World-Expo in Hong Kong, is an international fair where the
premiere companies in the Environmental Protection Industries from around the world gather
to display their innovative technologies.
Picture (L to R): Mayor Sam Adams (Mayor of Portland, Oregon); Embassador Andrew Young;
Mark Moser (RCM); Michael Jackson (Ass. Admin. US EPA); Rod Hirsch (U.S. Commercial
Service - Oakland (DOC))
Reinford's Digester on the News, Again!!!
March/April 2012's Sierra magazine edition has published a comprehensive article describing
the advantages of Digester Systems and dedicated farmers on sustainability.
Click on the image below to read the full article by David Ferris
|Reinford Farms on the news... Again!
U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards:
Brubaker Farms received Center for Advanced Energy Studies/Idaho National Laboratory
Award for Outstanding Achievement in Energy.
One more successful RCM digester on the news!!! Click the image below to read full article.
US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, visits the RCM digester at Pennwood Dairy in
RCM is on Manure Manager July/August 2012 edition. You can check the article on print or, if
you cannot wait, you can sneak a peek by clicking the image below.
One more successful RCM digester on the news! Click the image below to read an article
prepared by Lancaster Farming regarding Cliff Sensenig Farm's Digester
Reinford Farm's digester in Mifflintown, PA gets buttery. Click on the picture or follow the link
below to read the NPR article prepared by Scott Detrow.