Biogas Feasibility

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Biogas Feasibility Project

Once the Scott River area was identified as the location for the proposed windfarm the Lower Blackwood Land Conservation District Committee (LCDC) proposed that AMRCCE conduct a viability of including biogas from dairy waste as an additional energy source as this location is in the immediate vicinity of WA’s largest dairy farms. The idea was that a digester could provide baseload and/or dispatchable energy and an alternative management strategy for dairy waste, benefitting waterways, farm efficiencies and employment; and addressing emission challenges in the Agricultural sector.

A survey of dairy farmers (with funding from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER)) showed high-level interest subject to a practical, low cost and reliable solution.

This innovative project progressed to the feasibility stage with an on-farm trial, funded by Royalties for Regions’ Regional Estuaries Initiative, to separate the effluent manure providing an alternative in dairy effluent management which could greatly reduce the need to store fresh effluent in holding ponds, especially for irrigators who constitute 80 per cent of the dairy farmers in the area. Across the broader region, the process could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5,000 tonnes; eliminate nutrient run-off from dairy effluent into the waterways; save 365,000m3 of water per year; return water with known quantities of nutrients to farmers for re-use through reticulation, reduce the amount of commercial fertiliser required; and make use of land presently used for effluent ponds.

Separation of the effluent allowed the calculation of the cost of transporting the separated solids to a single site and the measurement of the methane bio-gas potential of the solid fraction of the effluent. These studies found that there was insufficient energy for economic production of energy in the dairy waste as sole fuel source but it may still be possible to find viable economic co-digestion using other waste as fuel sources.

Description2MW Energy

  • Model Dairy Waste Management
  • Waste Reuse | Environmental Benefits
  • 365,00 Cubic Metres of Water returned
  • Increase Farm Productivity
  • >6,000 tonnes CO2/year reduction methane venting
  • $5 Million

Achieved to date

  • Farmers Surveyed/Interest
  • Separation On-Farm Trial
  • Measure of Butane Methane Potential (BMP) of waste for grass fed dairy cows not previously available in scientific literature
  • Commenced Feasibility
  • Effluent/Manure Separation on dairy farm to recover nutrients and organic matter
  • Co-Digestion/Composting Trials now funded to commence in near future.