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Patterson Farms

Location Auburn, New York
Project Type Farm Scale
Animal Type Dairy
Population Feeding Digester 1,377
Baseline System Storage Tank or Pond or Pit
Digester Type Complete Mix
Co-Digestion Food processing waste (cheese whey, waste onions, and potato starch water)
System Designer RCM International, LLC; Digester cover installed by Environmental Fabrics, Inc.
Biogas Generation 173,300 ft3/day
Biogas Use Cogeneration
Generating Capacity 405 kW

Farm Bill Funded Project


Photo of barns at Patterson Farms, Inc.

Photo: Patterson Farms, Inc.

With Patterson Farms, Inc. located only two miles from Cayuga Lake—a popular recreational facility, the farm constructed a digester to control odor and improve manure management. A combined heat and power (CHP) system was installed to provide heat to maintain the digester temperature and supply electricity to the facility.

The farm selected a complete mix digester for its ability to handle low solid concentration influent, as well as food waste from outside sources. Food waste (whey) from a nearby Kraft Foods Inc. cream cheese factory is combined with dairy manure and fed into a complete mix mesophilic digester. Kraft Foods Inc. pays a tipping fee to the farm, which substantially improves the economics of the system.

Patterson Farm's digester project includes the following benefits:

  • Odor and pathogen reduction
  • Reduced risk of run-off and leaching of nutrients
  • Conversion of nutrients from organic to inorganic form, allowing them to be readily utilized by plants as a natural fertilizer
  • Potential revenue from sale of excess energy; food waste tipping fees; and carbon credit sales

Biogas is produced daily and approximately one-third is fed to the engine to generate electricity, and the remainder is flared on site. Carbon credits from all the combusted gas may provide additional revenue to the farm.

Digested effluent is separated using a screw-press separator. Separated solids are used for freestall bedding and the excess is sold.

The digester helps us deal with the odor problem, and the food waste tipping fees and electricity payments generate positive cash flow for the farm.
—Connie Patterson, Patterson Farms, Inc.

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