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Anaerobic digesters bring new partnerships & income to dairies

An alliance of food and farm groups expects widespread expansion of biogas digester projects this year.

John Hanselman, the head of Vanguard Renewables, says his company is working with Starbucks, Dairy Farmers of America, and Unilever through the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance to recover nutrients from food waste and capture energy with anerobic digesters.

“We’ll pay for the systems, we’ll operate the systems—we think that because we do it at scale, we’re able to strike better deals for selling that gas so that we can afford to pay for that,” he says.

Vanguard is planning for projects in most of the dairy states by the end of 2021.

“We have currently signed up about 75 farms in 15 different states,” he shares.

He tells Brownfield the farm receives rent for the land the system occupies, profit shares sales made on the gas, and recovers bedding and fertilizer for the farm to reuse.

“When we take out the gas from the manure and the food waste, we take all of the smell out of it too,” he says.

Hanselman says as more companies make sustainability commitments, the alliances serves as a very tangible solution for executing those goals and he expects the corporate partners to increase along with their footprint.

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