HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – A farm in Hadley has found a new way to make money, save energy and give back to the environment. Barstow’s Longmview Farm in Hadley has won an award for their anaerobic digestor. A machine the turns manure and food waste into electricity.
Barstow’s Longview Farm sits in the shadow of Mt. Tom and between the Connecticut River in Hadley. Known for their homemade creamery, it’s another cow product that’s making news.
“We make Methane gas and that’s what we do,” said Darren Ross, the construction manager for Vanguard Renewable Energy, the firm that operates the digester.
Methane gas that begins with manure and food waste. “We would love to see more of these. we have the perfect facilities to dispose of food waste,” said Ross. Food waste gets trucked in and offloaded. “At different intervals during the day, depending on our mixture, we feed into our digester.” The liquid food waste in the digester is mixed with manure and heated. Nature does the rest. No chemicals are added. The digester breaks down the organic material into methane gas which makes the top rise. The gas operates a 300KW generator which puts energy back into the Eversource grid. It’s enough to power 1,600 homes.
“It’s been harder and harder to make ends meet milking cows so we’re just trying to find different niches that we can use to make a farm more profitable,” said farm partner Steven Barstow.
On this day, students from STCC toured the farm. “It’s very renewable of us honestly like people don’t realize how important it is to conserve as much energy as we should at the rate of all this global warming happening,” said student Shehla Bhatti of Springfield Technical Community College.
Barstow’s gets paid for the energy they put into the grid. The heat from the methane is used to heat homes on the farm and the food manure mixture is used on the fields as a natural fertilizer.
Barstow’s Longview Farm, in partnership with Vanguard Renewables and Eversource, won the American Biogas Council’s 2016 Agricultural Project of the Year award.
According to an Eversource news release sent to 22News, Barstow’s is home to an anaerobic digester that combines farm waste and recycled food waste to produce more than 7,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy per year for the Eversource grid. The amount of energy produced by Barstow’s anaerobic digester each year is equivalent to the needs of 1,600 homes.
Each year, the farm’s zero-waste anaerobic digester converts the energy from nearly 10,000 tons of manure and more than 20,000 tons of food waste into electricity, heat and hot water. According to Eversource, it’s enough energy to power the Cabot Creamery butter production facility in West Springfield.
“Congratulations to Longview Farm on their award from the American Biogas Council, and for the contribution to diversifying our energy portfolio and reducing our carbon footprint. They are truly leading the way towards our green energy future,” said Massachusetts State Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
The whole process offsets nearly 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
“This unique project is good for farmers, the environment and our region, as we continue to seek out new sources of reliable ‘green’ power,” said Craig Hallstrom, Regional Electric Operations President at Eversource. “Our experts have been there every step of the way, making sure this remarkable source of renewable energy is being safely and reliably delivered into the electric grid.”