PDF - Fiscalini Farms Methane Capture Project

Fiscalini Farms Methane Capture Project
The project, located at Fiscalini Dairy Farms in Modesto, California, is one of very few in the state
operating an anaerobic digester system to capture methane gas created from the farm’s cow manure.
The project is being verified to a Climate Action Reserve (CAR) protocol.
Emission Reductions:
Fiscalini Farms contains approximately 1500 cows,
producing about 100 pounds of manure a day and large
quantities of methane gas as a result. Methane has a
global warming potential 21 times more potent than CO2.
Therefore the capture and destruction of this gas has
significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions. The project uses two anaerobic digester tanks
to manage the waste and prevent the release of methane.
Prior to the digester installation, manure was flushed from
the freestall barns and sent to an uncovered anaerobic
lagoon where methane gas was released into the
The farm helps mitigate GHG emissions further by generating
renewable electricity and heat from the captured methane
through a combined heat and power (CHP) generation
system. This recycles heat back to the digester and
supplies enough electricity for the farm’s entire operations
in addition to selling to the local grid. However, these
C02e emission reductions are not included in the project
producing methane inside the tanks. The methane is then
piped out of the digesters to a 710 kW CHP generator
system. The electricity is used by Fiscalini Farms dairy
operations, Fiscalini Cheese Company’s cheese making
facility (which produces 500,000 pounds of raw-milk aged
cheese per year), and the local grid; while the heat, in the
form of hot water, is sent back to the digester tanks to keep
them operating at 100 degrees. The hot water is additionally
used for sanitation needs at the dairy farm and cheese
facility as well as for the pasteurisation process in the
cheese plant.
In addition to the emission reductions, the digesters also
produce a valuable by-product; a portion of the effluent is
removed from the tanks daily and separated into liquid and
solid components. The liquid portion is used as the only
source of fertiliser for the farm’s crops while some of the
solid portion is used as bedding for the livestock. There is a
plan to sell the remainder as a peat moss substitute to local
nurseries and turf grass growers.
About the project:
The project consists of two 86 ft diameter digester tanks that
can hold approximately 860,000 gallons of effluent each.
In addition to the manure, the project also sends waste
whey produced from the on-site cheese production and
silage from the farm to the digesters. The tanks are heated
to approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit to help facilitate
the bacteria breaking down the particles and subsequently
The CarbonNeutral Company - a world-leading provider of carbon reduction solutions
London T: +44 20 7833 6000 E: [email protected]
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About agricultural
methane biogas:
Project area coordinates: Latitude 37° 70’ 86’ N and longitude - 121° 12’ 96’ W
About the region:
A leader in the US with regard to environmental policy,
California has the most aggressive renewable energy
requirement in the country, with a Renewables Portfolio
Standard (RPS) of 33%, requiring utilities to supply at least
a third of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The state has also set the bar high with stringent air quality
regulations. California leads the nation in dairy farming with
some 2,700 farms. However, despite the GHG benefits from
these methane capture projects, less than one percent of these
farms are operating digesters, due in large part to the strict
air quality regulations, which don’t exist to the same extent
elsewhere. Fiscalini Farms has made additional investments
to its digester system to make sure that it is compliant with
the local air quality authority in addressing non greenhouse
gasses such as NOx emissions - formed anywhere there is
combustion. There are numerous opportunities for digester
The CarbonNeutral Company - a world-leading provider of carbon reduction solutions
London T: +44 20 7833 6000 E: [email protected]
New York T: 1-646-367-5800 E: [email protected]
Singapore T: + 65 688 44465 E: [email protected]
Globally, livestock manure contributes roughly
five per cent of total anthropogenic (human
induced) methane emissions. Methane is
decomposition of organic material in livestock
manure. Three groups of animals - swine,
dairy and non-dairy cattle - account for 80%
of methane from livestock. Methane released
from manure management systems can be
captured using an anaerobic digester. These
digesters are air tight, oxygen-free containers
which organic material like animal manure and
food scraps are fed into. Naturally occurring
bacteria in the organic waste breaks it down
to produce methane gas - commonly known
as biogas – along with an odour-reduced
effluent. Using generators, this gas can then be
converted into electricity (and/or heat) which
delivers a twofold environmental benefit: it
reduces the volume of methane released into
the atmosphere and displaces electricity which
would otherwise have been drawn primarily
from fossil fuel sources.
expansion in the state if the regulatory requirements can be
met; Fiscalini Farms sets the example for future methane
capture projects in California that will hopefully encourage
development at a rate required for commercial viability of
the industry.