Powering the farm.

The Hamilton Spectator, Flamborough, Ontario. February 13, 2010.

"In rural Hamilton a veal farm puts out $2 million to convert waste to
methane and produce electricity.

Manure from 3,000 veal calves on a Valens-area farm will start producing
enough power to supply 500 homes next month.

Industry officials say Delft Blue Veal will be one of only a half-dozen
Ontario farms -- and the first in this area -- with an on-site biogas plant
turning manure into electricity for sale to the provincial grid.

Delft Blue, a division of the Grober Group of Cambridge, is building a huge,
circular digester tank that will create methane gas to run an engine
generating almost 500 kilowatt hours of electricity. The system will also
heat the digester and replace propane now used to heat barns and liquid
animal feed.

The biogas process cuts greenhouse gas emissions, removes manure odour,
kills most pathogens and prevents contamination of drinking water. Plant
nutrients in the manure -- phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium -- are
preserved in the leftover liquid, or digestate, used as an organic

The Flamborough farm now has an aerobic digester, one that uses electricity
to pump in air to support bacteria that do nothing but remove odour.

In an airless, anaerobic digester, microbes feeding on the waste release
methane in a process similar to that in Hamilton's Woodward Avenue sewage
treatment plant, which burns biogas from its sludge digesters to generate

Ross Blaine, Delft Blue director of innovation, says the Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs offers a 40 per cent subsidy up to a
maximum of $400,000 -- or about 20 per cent for the Flamborough facility in
which close to $2 million has been invested.

In keeping with his innovation role, Blaine hopes to do more than generate
power. Among other things, he wants to try what he calls nutri-gation,
adding digestate to golf-course irrigation systems in place of chemical

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society