Synergy LLC is an investment dairy that was purchased in 2004 to join forces with 6 key partners: 3 existing dairy farms and 3 cash crop farms (all within a 20-mile radius of Synergy).
Starting in 2009, the farm began talking about the addition of an anaerobic digester. They went ahead to begin building it in 2011, and the project was completed and operational one year later.
Synergy biogas owns the digester (which is a different business from Synergy LLC, which leases the land to Synergy Biogas). The digester comes from Denmark and is a complete mix variety made by the company Bigadan.
Synergy became interested in an AD in order to control odor, produce bedding, produce electricity, and enhance their farm revenue. So far they have achieved some of these goals, but not all of them. In terms of odor reduction and increased farm revenue, the results have been favorable. The farm is able to make $0.04-$0.09/gallon at 35,000 gallons/day from food waste tipping fees.
In terms of producing bedding, the farm has only somewhat achieved this goal. Their resulting bedding is indeed pathogen-free, but they are only meeting about 50% of their needs. Nevertheless, this still allows them to save on 50% of their purchased bedding costs. Digested manure that is not used to make bedding goes to Synergy’s partnership cash crop farms.
Unfortunately Synergy has not accomplished their goal of producing electricity. The plan going in was to have electricity at the cost of the digester making it, less carrying fees. However, due to legal constraints, they were not able to purchase back the electricity produced by Synergy Biogas before it was sent to the meter.
IFES Number: 59
Type of Firm: Multiple Farm/Facility
Main Products: Dairy
Size of Firm: 1820 milking cows; 400 total acres
Ownership Type: Private
Energy System Components: Anaerobic digester
Operational Status: Operational
Year Installed: 2011
Energy Feedstock: Manure from 2050 cows; 1000 gallons/day wastewater; 35,000 gallons/day food waste
Energy Produced: Biogas production: 696,000 cu_ft/day
Energy Uses: Electricity
New co-products: Bedding
TCO2 Eq Avoided: 12,609 CO2E/yr